Scientists are trying to bring back to the woolly mammoth, a creature that last roamed the earth at least 5,000 years ago.
Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University in Japan, will lead the research team conducting this unusual experiment. Iritani will be joined in Siberia by other scientists from across Japan, Russia and the United States.
They will attempt to extract and isolate DNA from a mammoth carcass that has been recovered and preserved in a Russian laboratory. The team will then insert it into the egg cells of African elephant, wait for the 600-day gestation period and hope a baby mammoth comes out.
Iritani is fairly optimistic. The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently, but now stands at about 30 percent. I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years, he told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph.
The cloning technique used by the team has been done on mice. That technique -- for mice, anyway -- was perfected in 2008 by the Riken Center for Developmental Biology.
Dinosaurs, another extinct animal, are unable to go through the same process since their remains are fossilized, meaning they have largely turned to stone. The remains of mammoths have been preserved in ice, leaving the DNA and its genetic information largely intact.
This is not the first time anyone has attempted to clone a mammoth. Scientists have been looking for ways to do it since 1997, with no success.