Bodies of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday. Research has indicated that mammalian sperm can survive being frozen for much longer than was previously thought, suggesting that it could potentially be recovered from species that have died out. Several well-preserved mammoth carcasses have been found in the permafrost of Siberia, and scientists estimate that there could be millions more. Last year a Canadian team demonstrated that it was possible to extract DNA from the specimens, and announced the sequencing of about 1 per cent of the genome of a mammoth that died about 27,000 years ago. With access to the mammoth’s genetic code, and with frozen sperm recovered from testes, it may be possible to resurrect an animal that is very similar to a mammoth. The mammoth is a close genetic cousin of the modern Asian elephant, and scientists think that the two may be capable of interbreeding. The frozen mammoth sperm could be injected into elephant eggs, producing offspring that would be 50 […]

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