A US-Russian team of researchers has pieced together most of the genome of a woolly mammoth, Nature journal reports.
The experts extracted DNA from samples of mammoth hair to reconstruct the genetic sequence of this Ice Age beast.
Though some stretches are missing, the researchers estimate that the genome is roughly 80% complete.
The work could provide insights into the extinction of the mammoth and also resurrects questions about the viability of cloning long-dead species.
The scientists were aided in their task by the fact that several deep-frozen carcasses of woolly mammoths have been dug out of the permafrost in Siberia.
These conditions are ideal for the preservation of hair, which is a preferred source for the extraction of ancient DNA.
If genetic material survives in a sample of hair, most of it will belong to the animal that hair is from.
By contrast, when researchers try to extract ancient DNA from bone, it is often swamped with DNA from fungi and bacteria.
The researchers used hair samples from two mammoth specimens recovered from the permafrost.