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This Bad-Boy Geneticist Wants to Clone a Mammoth

This Bad Boy Geneticist Wants to Clone a Mammoth WIRED


Hwang Woo-Suk is the bad boy of genetics. He’s most famous for falsely claiming to have cloned human stem cells. This is, you can imagine, very bad in science. Yet last week, the South Korean researcher was in Siberia, drilling cells from the bones of a 28,000 year-old frozen wooly mammoth. The bones are the only place Hwang is going to find the DNA he needs to bring a mammoth back to life.

Hwang’s plan is probably doomed. Not because it’s impossible—plenty of the world’s best biologists are convinced that cloning a mammoth is just a matter of putting the right minds to work with the right technologies. Even most critics are more concerned with “should we” than “could we” at this point. The problem with Hwang’s particular approach is it requires an intact strand of mammoth DNA. And every single strand of DNA in every single frozen mammoth carcass was almost certainly wrecked thousands of years ago by waves of cosmic radiation.

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It's like he learned nothing from Jurassic Park.

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