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Cloning Ice Age Lion Cubs

Cloning Ice Age Lion Cubs


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It was just on the news that scientists discovered "Two cubs in Russia's Sakha Republic last August in a near-perfect state". And the South Koreans and Russians are attempting to clone these extinct Ice Age lion cubs. (Link to one such news coverage)

According to this answer, we seem to be able to sequence its genome but cloning may be difficult. However, is this find likely to be the rare large chunk of well-preserved material that makes cloning possible?


The answer that you link to provides a pretty good overview of what it might take to clone an extinct organism from preserved tissue and what some of the challenges are. I won't repeat that answer, but in a nutshell, two big obstacles are incomplete sequences and a host womb.

To get at your question of whether this preserved "chunk" of flesh will lead to the cloning & revival of extinct species… you're a little late to the game. :-)

In 2003, researchers used preserved DNA to revive the Pyrinean Ibex, a goat native to the Iberian Peninsula, that had recently gone extinct. The results were mixed. The experiment worked, in the sense that the scientists were able to successfully bring a recently extinct animal to term, but unfortunately, the revived goat only lived for a few brief minutes, due to developmental abnormalities. It's important to note that this was achieved using DNA that was even better preserved than that of the cave lions in the Mirror article.

So, will the DNA found in the cave lion cells lead to successful cave lion revival? If such a revival occurs, I'm betting that it will be due to advances in how the ancient DNA is integrated with reference DNA and in how fertilization and implantation are carried out, more than on the quality of the found DNA.


Scientists To Clone 12,000-Year-Old Ice Age Lion Cubs Found In Siberia – This Is Just Unbelievable

South Korean and Russian scientists are set to clone extinct Ice Age cave lion cubs found in near-perfect condition in the Sakha Republic in Russia on August last year.

The head of the mammoth fauna studies department at the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Albert Protopopov, said that the found lion cubs were “complete with all their body parts – fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers”.

The Russian-South Korean project called, Joint Foundation of Molecular Paleontology at North East Russia University, are eager to extract the right DNA from the remains of the found prehistoric animals.

According to Dr. Protopopov, the cubs were just a week or two old and are believed to just have perished due for hidden in a cave by their mother lion in order for them to be protected against hungry lions.

According to The Sun, one of the found cubs will be used in cloning while the other one will be placed in a museum.

South Korean scientist and cloning expert, Hwang Woo-suk, who’s currently pioneered a research work regarding the cloning of the extinct wooly mammoth, also went to the Yakutian Academy of Sciences to obtain some samples from one of the cave lion cubs for a chance of cloning it.

But, Hwang is having a problem with the extraction of the samples he’ll be needing. He and the Siberian and Korean scientists are arguing over the size of the sample.

“You have to understand, the lion cub is very small, so it was not possible to take as much as we would like. In addition, the material is highly degraded, it is partially mummified, but the part that was in the ice, preserved very well. We managed to take some samples of skin along with the muscle tissue, and we hope that we will find what we want in these samples.” Dr Protopopov said as quoted by the Siberian Times.

We just hope the research would be started ad finished as soon as possible.

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Scientists Attempt To Clone Extinct Ice Age Lion Cubs With Frozen DNA

Scientists from South Korea and Russia want to clone an extinct cave lion using DNA from the frozen remains of ice age cubs.

The two 12,000-year-old lion cubs were found almost perfectly preserved in Russia’s Sakha Republic thanks to the permanently low temperatures.

The perfectly preserved cubs were found in a cave in Russia (AP)

Researchers hope to find living tissue in the prehistoric cubs, with DNA that could be used to recreate the extinct big cat.

One cub will be used for the cloning plan, while the other will be kept as part of the Mammoth Museum’s collection.

Researcher Yakov Androsov (right) and his assistant show the body of a cave lion during a presentation (AP)

The project is a collaboration between South Korean and Russian scientists at the Joint Foundation of Molecular Palaeontology, at North East Russia University in the city of Yakutsk.

It is hoped that DNA can be extracted from the frozen cub remains (The Verge)

Described by the scientists are a ‘sensational find’, the near-perfect preservation of the unfortunate lion cubs could lead to the controversial possibility of bringing an extinct species back from the dead.

Researchers are planning to return to the cave where the cubs were found to look for other big cats that may have also been preserved.

One of the scientists from the project is also working on cloning the extinct wooly mammoth using the same process.


Scientists Want to 'Jurassic Park' This Well-Preserved Lion Cub From the Ice Age

Extraordinarily well-preserved remains of an ice-age lion cub are raising hopes of bringing this extinct species back to life.

The remains of the cub were found buried in the permafrost along the Tirekhtykh River in the Abyisky region of Yakutia, Russia by local resident Boris Berezhnov.

“It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived,” said paleontologist Albert Protopopov . “There are no traces of external injuries on the skin.” Even its facial features are visible, along with the toes on its paws. The cub was found with its paw resting on its head.

The Siberian Times

Further testing will need to be done on the cub, but experts believe it died between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago , during the Pleistocene Ice Age. The cave lion became extinct around 11,700 years ago, around the end of the last Ice Age.

Scientists believe the cub was between six and eight weeks old when it died, but amino acids in its teeth will give them a more accurate estimate. The cause of death is not currently known.

This is not the first time cave lion cubs have been discovered in the region. In 2015, two cave lion cubs , named Uyan and Dina, were discovered in a different part of the region, along the Uyandina River. These cubs’ remains were around 55,000 years old, and are not related to the newly-discovered cub.

“Everyone was amazed then and did not believe that such a thing is possible, and now, two years later, another cave lion has been found in the Abyiski district,” said Protopopov .

The discovery of such a well-preserved cub has sparked debate about the possibility of cloning the cave lion. Cloning an animal from deceased remains has been done before—in 2008 researchers cloned a mouse from deceased remains that had been frozen for 16 years. But cloning something that may have been frozen for over 50,000 years presents different challenges.

There are possible ethical ramifications of reviving a long-extinct species, of course. Questions such as how the animal would be reintroduced, what effects the reintroduction of the species would have on our current ecosystems, and how it would affect the resources of existing species would all need to be addressed.

The debate was briefly sparked after the discovery of Uyan and Dina in 2015. At the time, the Sakha Republic Academy of Sciences, which announced the cub's discovery, issued a statement saying, “Given that the cubs have well-preserved soft tissues, we believe that they can be cloned.” The preservation of the recently-discovered cub is “ even better ” than the cubs found in 2015.

Screenshot via Youtube.

“The preservation is so good that it raises hopes of cloning the species back to life,” said Protopopov of the recent discovery.

While the debate goes on, scientists will continue to study the remains to more accurately date its death, the age of the cub, and its sex. The process could take up to three years . Scientists also hope the discovery will inform how cave lions became extinct.

More stunning images of the preserved lion cub can be found at Siberian Times .


Scientists trying to clone Ice Age cave lion after finding two near-perfectly preserved cubs

SCIENTISTS in Russia are trying to clone an Ice Age cave lion after finding two near-perfectly preserved cubs.

The prehistoric big cats were found last year in the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia, where the freezing temperatures kept them in good condition.

SCIENTISTS in Russia are trying to clone an Ice Age cave lion after finding two near-perfectly preserved cubs.

The prehistoric big cats were found last year in the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia, where the freezing temperatures kept them in good condition.

Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, said the cubs were found 𠇌omplete with all their body parts — fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers”.

Researchers at the Russian-South Korean project — the Joint Foundation of Molecular Paleontology at North East Russia University — hope they can extract enough DNA from the remains to recreate the extinct animals.

One of the team members, Semyon Grigoriev, is also working on cloning a woolly mammoth using the same process.

Dr Protopopov said he believed the cubs were only a week or two old and may have perished after being hidden in a cave by their mother to protect them from hungry lions.

“This find, beyond any doubt, is sensational,” he said.

One of the cubs will be used to attempt cloning, while the other is destined for a museum.

Researchers are due to return to the cave where they were found this summer to search for the remains of more cubs, or even a lioness.

Cave lions once roamed the planet from Britain to the far east of Russia, until they died out around 10,000 years ago.

It is thought they became extinct because of a decline in large prey like deer and cave bears.


Ice Age Siberian Cave Lion Cubs Could Be Cloned By South Korean Scientists [PHOTO]

Scientists are hoping to use new DNA technology to replicate a species of Ice Age lion that existed at least 12,000 years ago in Siberia, using two remarkably well-preserved cave lion cubs that were discovered last year on the bank of the Uyandina River in the Abyisky district of Siberia.

The two cubs, known as Dina and Uyan, are the best-preserved specimens of this long-extinct feline species, and they may be the key to better understanding this species that disappeared after the Pleistocene era (2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago).

The frozen cubs were discovered by a group of researchers who had been searching the region for mammoth tusks. Dr. Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, explained in an interview at the time that in comparison to "modern lion cubs, we think that these two were very small, maybe a week or two old. The eyes were not quite open, they have baby teeth and not all had appeared."

The cloning project draws on expertise from Russian and South Korean scientists at the Joint Foundation of Molecular Paleontology at North East Russia University, in the city of Yakutsk. The scientists will extract samples from one of the cubs for the cloning procedure, while the better-preserved one will be kept in a museum, Protopopov explained.

However, there has been some conflict between the Siberian and Korean researchers about the size of the samples. Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, who has also worked on cloning mammoths and whose previous stem cell research faced controversies, wanted a large section- part of a skull or leg- but this was resisted by Protopopov's team, who wants to preserve the Ice Age kittens for potential research developments.

"We intend to keep it for the future," Protopopov said. "The methods of research are constantly being improved, about once a decade there is a mini-revolution in this area. So we will do everything possible to keep this carcass frozen for as long as possible."

He elaborated: "The dispute arose from the fact that the researchers, as always, want to be completely sure and take more tissue, and I can understand them. But the lion is not fully preserved and there are not so many tissues. We have planned other studies, so it is important to preserve the original morphology of the remains. Such disputes are normal in all studies, and in the end we came to a compromise."

A thorough autopsy on the cubs is scheduled for this year.

About the size of a modern-day Siberian tiger, the cave lion is one of the biggest known feline predators of the Ice Age. It made its way from Africa to Europe about 700,000 years ago and gradually spread throughout most of North Eurasia, ranging from the British Isles to the Yukon in Canada.


Scientists want to clone tiny lion cubs from the Ice Age

Experts are hoping to clone the big cats from two almost intact prehistoric cubs that were discovered last year.

According to Dr Albert Protopopov, the cubs were found in their icy grave ‘complete with all their body parts: fur, ears, soft tissue, and even whiskers’.

Now Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean cloning expert, is travelling to Yakutsk in Russia to obtain samples from one of the cubs, the Siberian Times reported.

Hwang has form when it comes to recreating the ice age – he is currently working on a groundbreaking project to bring the extinct woolly mammoth back to life.

Unveiling the prehistoric kittens for the first time last year, Dr Protopopov said: ‘Compared to modern lion cubs, we think these two were very small – maybe a week or two old.

‘The eyes were not quite open, they have baby teeth and not all had appeared.’

He added that they may have died after their mum hid them in a cave to protect them from predators.

‘Then the landslide covered [the cave] and they remained surrounded by permafrost. The air intake was also blocked, and this helped their preservation.’

This summer, researchers are planning to go back to the cave and look for more cubs – or even the mother.


Cute first pictures of new 50,000 year old cave lion cub found perfectly preserved in permafrost

Little cat is possible brother to ‘Boris’ found last year some 15 metres (50ft) away.

Baby - around one month old when it died, too young to open his eyes - was found by local resident Pavel Efimov. Picture: Valery Plotnikov

Meet Spartak the extinct cave lion cub. His find is a major boost to scientists seeking to clone the lost species back to life.

Discovery of the cub - christened Spartak - is seen as one of the big successes of the summer season in Yakutia where major hunts are underway to find remains of extinct animals such as the once-prolific cave lion, and the woolly mammoths and rhinos.

The frozen kitten has been preserved as if lifelike for up to 50,000 years.

He was found a few weeks ago - and these are his first pictures.

Scientist Dr Valery Plotnikov said the baby - around one month old when it died, too young to open his eyes - was found by local resident Pavel Efimov.

Discovery of the cub - christened Spartak - is seen as one of the big successes of the summer season in Yakutia. Picture: Valery Plotnikov

'The carcass is whole - the soft tissues, fur, and its long tail have remained intact.

&lsquoThe lion is no more than one month old.

&lsquoThere is an assumption that this is the brother or sister of a kitten, found last year - the location is very close.'

He told The Siberian Times: 'It could have been a lioness with two cubs.

'Another lion cub, called Boris, was found in this very spot but just 15 metres away last year.

&lsquoSo it could have been a lion family.&rsquo

Spartak will be &lsquowrapped in film and covered in wet snow&hellip.then he will be put in the freezer to await study.&rsquo

&lsquoThere is an assumption that this is the brother or sister of a kitten, found last year - the location is very close.' Pictures: Valery Plotnikov

A team of scientists from Yakutia along with foreign colleagues from Sweden, the United States, and Britain is continuing the research.

Last year Boris was also described as being in &lsquoperfect condition&rsquo.

An enchanting picture showed this cub resting his head on his paw.

At the time, expert Dr Albert Protopopov said the find raises hopes of cloning the species back to life.

The condition of the latest cubs is better than of two earlier tiny cave lions named Uyan and Dina - found three years ago.

Spartak, like Boris, was found in permafrost on the bank of Tirekhtykh River, in the Abyisky district of Yakutia, also known as the Sakha Republic.

He will be moved in the coming months to regional capital Yakutsk for analysis.

Two earlier tiny cave lions named Uyan and Dina - found three years ago. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya


Businessman Pierre-Etienne Binschedler won the bidding war for the prehistoric creature. Binschedler, CEO of a French waterproofing company whose mascot is also a mammoth, said the skeleton will feel right at home in his company's lobby in Strasbourg.

Author: Rebecca Staudenmaier (with AFP, dpa)

Questions to be answered

Miyamoto says he believes there are a number of questions that need to be addressed before the technology reaches the point that a resurrected mammoth is a reality.

"I cannot say that we should go ahead and bring these creatures back to life as there are many issues that must be considered," he said. "There are ethical issues, these animals may not be comfortable in the environment that we have today, there are countless things that have to be discussed."

"Right now, I am more interested in studying the factors that influence how animals become extinct and helping to prevent those that are in danger of dying out from disappearing," he added.

Clive Nicol, a British-born environmentalist who now lives in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, agrees that caution needs to be exercised, but said that there are many potential benefits.

'Yuka' was transported from Siberia

"I believe that non-destructive science can be beneficial in some way or another, and it is clear that regenerating life can be positive, but I would personally prefer that we turn our attention and this sort of knowledge to endangered species that are on the Earth right now," he said.

Biodiversity fading

"Up here in the mountains, there are fewer and fewer moths, bees, insects and small birds every year, or so it seems," he said, adding they are "disappearing at an increasing rate" due to the loss of their traditional habitats, interruptions in their food chains, the use of pesticides and chemicals, and more land being given over to farming.

"And then there are problems with issues such as poaching of elephant and rhinoceros in Africa," said Nicol, who in 1969 became the first game warden of the Semien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia – the first site anywhere in the world to be registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

"The work that these scientists are doing is fascinating, but I believe it is fantasy," he said. "Indeed, I hope it is fantasy when some people start talking about bringing these creatures back to go into theme parks or zoos," he said.


Perfectly preserved cave lion cub found in Siberia raises cloning hopes

THEY were one of the most fearsome predators of the ice age. Now, a perfectly preserved cave lion cub could bring the species back to life.

The remains of an extinct cave lion cub are so well preserved, scientists have said it raises cloning hopes. Picture: Anastasiya Koryakina/East 2 West News Source:Supplied

THEY were one of the most fearsome predators of the ice age, but the recently unveiled remains of a frozen cave lion cub paint a different story.

With its head gently resting on its paw as if in sleep, the 20,000-50,000-year-old specimen, which was showcased yesterday in Yakutsk, Russia, has transfixed scientists.

The find is perfectly preserved, and shows the now extinct species in extraordinary detail. Most striking, is the creature’s face.

Perfectly preserved cave lion cub found in Siberia.

Perfectly preserved cave lion cub found in Siberia

Expert Dr Albert Protopopov told the Siberian Times : “It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived. There are no traces of external injuries on the skin.”

The level of preservation is so good it raises the hope of cloning the species back to life, he said.

A local found the prehistoric creature in permafrost on the bank of Tirekhtykh River in Russia’s far northeastern Yukatia region.

It is thought to have been aged between six and eight weeks when it died of unknown causes. Its sex is not yet known.

Dr Protopopov said analysis of the cub’s teeth are expected to narrow down its age range, and scientists can expect significant results after approximately three years of research.

This find comes two years after two frozen newborn lion cubs, Uyan and Dina, were found in the same Siberian region.

Uyan and Dina, said to be around 55,000-years-old, were the first prehistoric cave lions to be found so well preserved. One of the cubs is believed to still contain its mother’s milk in its stomach.

𠇎veryone was amazed then and did not believe that such a thing is possible, and now, two years later, another cave lion has been found in the Abyiski district,” Dr Protopopov said.

No-one knows exactly why these prehistoric lions became extinct, but they died out approximately 10,000 years ago. What little is known about them has been gleaned from bones, tracks and ancient cave paintings.


Watch the video: Mother lion failed to protect her cub (July 2022).


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