Scientists Aim To Clone Extinct Horse By Using 42,000-Year-Old Liquid Blood

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A team of Korean and Russian scientists in the Siberian region of Yakutsk managed to salvage pristine samples of liquid blood from the heart of an ancient 42,000-year-old horse which was preserved in permafrost.

Scientists Aim To Clone Extinct Horse By Using 42,000-Year-Old Liquid Blood

A team of Korean and Russian scientists in the Siberian region of Yakutsk managed to salvage pristine samples of liquid blood from the heart of an ancient 42,000-year-old horse which was preserved in permafrost.


Their goal? To eventually gather the cells that are necessary to revive the extinct species back to life through cloning.


The male foal, discovered in August 2018 in the Batagaika depression, is an incredibly well-preserved specimen which belongs to an extinct equestrian species also known as Lenskaya, or Lena Horse, as reported by the Siberian Times, that populated the remote corner of Russia between 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.


Now a joint team from the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk and the South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation has begun analyzing the remains with the clearly expressed goal of cloning the Ice Age-era horse.


Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, told Russian news agency TASS that the autopsy has revealed the animal’s “beautifully preserved organs” as well as muscle tissue that has maintained a healthy “natural reddish color.” Likewise, the hair on its head, legs, and body parts is largely intact–a fantastic attribute given that “preserved hair is another scientific sensation as all previous ancient horses were found without hair,” Grigoryev remarked.


Grigoryev said:


“We can now claim that this is the best-preserved Ice Age animal ever found in the world.”

The foal probably died of drowning early in life judging by the results of its autopsy, added Grigoryev.


“A lot of mud and silt which the foal gulped during the last seconds of its life were found inside its gastrointestinal tract,” said Grigoryev.


It remains unclear, though, if viable cells can be grown from the blood samples extracted so far.


Nevertheless, another team of Russian scientists working alongside Japanese researchers has managed to spark activity in the cells of a well-preserved mammoth carcass which dates 28,000 years ago.


However, whether the material on-hand will provide the Russian-Korean team with the basis for a fully-cloned animal is another story. Interestingly enough, Gizmodo notes that lead collaborator Sooam Biotech has made a lucrative business for itself by cloning pet dogs as a means to “heal the broken hearts” of bereaved pet owners, and its own lead researcher was the subject of accusations that he had committed several egregious ethical violations in the 2000s.


Besides, the ethics surrounding the possibility of cloning the ancient foal remain questionable for various reasons, like the fact that the clone will possibly enjoy the existence of a lab-rat throughout its life, without its natural wild habitat of Ice Age-era Siberian tundra and vast forests.


Nonetheless, the team is so “confident of success” that it's already “reportedly choosing a mother for the historic role of giving birth to the comeback species,” as Siberian Times reported.


Whether this idea sounds wild or not, if it is left up to the researchers in Yakutsk, we could be in for a show lifted straight out of Jurassic Park.

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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Aim To Clone Extinct Horse By Using 42,000-Year-Old Liquid Blood
Scientists Aim To Clone Extinct Horse By Using 42,000-Year-Old Liquid Blood
A team of Korean and Russian scientists in the Siberian region of Yakutsk managed to salvage pristine samples of liquid blood from the heart of an ancient 42,000-year-old horse which was preserved in permafrost.
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