Though it is unlikely that a mammoth could be cloned in the same way as Dolly, more modern techniques that convert tissue cells into stem cells could potentially achieve the feat, Wilmut says in an article today for the academic journalism website, The Conversation.
"I've always been very sceptical about the whole idea, but it dawned on me that if you could clear the first hurdle of getting viable cells from mammoths, you might be able to do something useful and interesting," Wilmut told the Guardian. "I think it should be done as long as we can provide great care for the animal. If there are reasonable prospects of them being healthy, we should do it. We can learn a lot about them," he added.
But the scientist, who in many peers' eyes should have shared the Nobel price in physiology or medicine with Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka last year, said it could be 50 years before the techniques for resurrecting the woolly mammoth were perfected. There will be no Pleistocene Park soon.