What could possibly go wrong?
Woolly mammoths could be brought back from extinction after a preserved body of one of the ancient animals was found frozen in the snowy wastes of Siberia, scientists hope.
The mammoth, which took its last steps around 40,000 years ago, is in such good condition that biologists believe they may be able to clone the creature.
An autopsy of the Ice Age beast, which has been nicknamed Buttercup by scientists, will be shown in a documentary later this month.
Scroll down for video
The Channel 4 program will also examine pioneering work on cloning the woolly mammoth, which is taking place in South Korea and the US.
Scientists hope that, eventually, they will be able to reintroduce the huge creatures back into the wild, tens of thousands of years after they became extinct.
Insung Hwang, a South Korean geneticist, told the Independent: ‘Bringing back the mammoth either through cloning or genetic engineering would be an extremely long process. We’re trying hard to make this possible within our generation.’
‘That’s why we have to start discussing the implications now. Some of our colleagues are still working on analysing the genome from Buttercup’s specimen. This is a long and complicated process that is unlikely to be finished anytime in the near future.’
Dr Tori Herridge, an expert on mammoth biology at the Natural History Museum who took part in the work, thinks cloning the animal would cause too much suffering for surrogate Asian elephants used in the process.
She said: ‘The guys from South Korea, who are collecting tissue for cloning, were excited because the better preserved the tissue, the greater their hopes were that there would be some intact DNA