Is mammoth cloning really possible? I was watching a TV programme and they found mammoth flesh in a frozen tunnel and they claimed it had cells, but how did they know it was a mammoth and not from a human when they had sneezed or something? Also, even if they have a cell, how would they be able to get 300,000,000,000 cells?
My understanding is that there if an outside chance that they may be able to extract DNA. In principle sections of this could be replicated and inserted into elephant cellular DNA to 'create' an elephant with some of the characteristics of a mammoth. That said you would also need to know what 'parts' of the DNA gave rise to these characters. All in all it sounds fairly implausible to me. Even if there was cellular tissue intact, the DNA within these cells is likely to be damaged and would not give rise to a healthy and complete mammoth.
It is more likely that you could back cross elephants demonstrating phenotypical characters similar to mammoths as has been done in domestic cattle to produce an Auroch looking cow. But that is still a modern cow in the same way that a hairy looking elephant with larger tusks and a bit if a hump would still fundamentally be a modern elephant.
I hasten to add that I am not a scholar of genetics, merely an entomologist.
Let's see what others think - I may be completely wrong .... but it's a good discussion :)
I have seen a couple of different programmes now about cloning a mammoth and what strikes me is the ammount of money, time, professional people, lab resources and planning that is going into the project.
So I think they are not spending all this time and money for nothing and will get there in the end.