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?


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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.


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