A Brief History Of: Cloning

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Like elephants, mammoths could grow to 14 ft. (4.3 m). The end of the Ice Age meant the end of the beasts.

Nature may have forgotten about the extinct woolly mammoth, but science has been buzzing about it lately, ever since researchers announced that they had sequenced 80% of its genome. That gave rise to chatter about whether a cloned mammoth could ever be born. Serious cloning science began in 1952, when researchers first reported transferring a tadpole nucleus into an ovum and producing identical tadpole copies. In 1995, biologist Craig Venter sequenced the genome of the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium, the first living organism whose genes were decoded. In 1997, cloning made stop-the-presses headlines when embryologist Ian Wilmut announced that he had cloned a sheep. Venter grabbed the spotlight again in 2003 when his team became one of two to sequence the human genome. A living woolly mammoth either will or won't ensue, but if cloning history is any guide, don't bet against will.