Scientists trying to clone, resurrect extinct mammoth
A woolly mammoth skeleton is seen on display at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas in September 2009.
January 17th, 2011
11:31 AM ET

Scientists trying to clone, resurrect extinct mammoth

Instead of Jurassic Park, try Pleistocene Park.

A team of scientists from Japan, Russia and the United States hopes to clone a mammoth, a symbol of Earth’s ice age that ended 12,000 years ago, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun. The researchers say they hope to produce a baby mammoth within six years.

The scientists say they will extract DNA from a mammoth carcass that has been preserved in a Russian laboratory and insert it into the egg cells of an African elephant in hopes of producing a mammoth embryo.

The team is being led by Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University in Japan. He has built upon research from Teruhiko Wakayama of Kobe's Riken Center for Developmental Biology, who successfully cloned a mouse from cells that had been frozen for 16 years, to devise a technique to extract egg nuclei without damaging them, according to the Yomiuri report.

The U.S. researchers are in vitro fertilization experts. They, along with Kinki University professor Minoru Miyashita, will be responsible for implanting the mammoth embryo into an African elephant, the report said.

"If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed [the mammoth] and whether to display it to the public," Iritani told Yomiuri. "After the mammoth is born, we'll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors."

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Filed under: Animals • Japan • Russia • U.S.
soundoff (1,588 Responses)
  1. Meech!

    This is frigging horrible. Not to even speak of the poor "mother" elephant, but such an offspring would live its entire life being poked, prodded, studied, sampled, tested, weighed, photographed and eventually cut up to be studied. This isn't beneficial science, it's kids poking bugs with sticks.

    February 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Samantha

    I'm real sure that if these scientist have the ability to re-create the dead they should have the cure for cancer. Oh but wait I believe they do, they are just keeping it an underground secret because there would be a great employment loss along with the amount of money there receive for cancer research. Keep the prehistoric where it belongs and help cure those who fight for their lives every day!!!

    February 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cindy

    Worst idea ever because it will die of loneliness being the only of its kind. This is exactly what happened to an elephant that was brought to St. Lucia.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. longtooth

    As long as they don't clone my eighth grade music teacher. God, she was awful !

    February 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tanner

    Good, I hope they clone it, breed it, and reintroduce it to the wild. Humans were probably the major factor in why it went extinct, so it would be appropriate if we helped to bring it back.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doc

      You're probably right. The ice age creature went extinct like the majority of all other ice age creatures, not because of its loss of environment, but because of man.

      Oh wait...i see what you're saying, excuse me haha. The mammoth went extinct because man's global warming caused it to lose its natural environment, well that makes a lot more sense!

      February 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. V8

    They went excting because of Bush ask any democrat.

    February 27, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Chas.

    I think this would be a fantastic breakthrough in science. It would be the event of the century. I would love to see a mammoth if not a herd of them. I would like to see more of the extinct animals be brought back and reintroduced into a natural environment. So much is lost when something goes extinct. If our harmful human interference with the environment does not stop there will be many more creatures going extinct. Like the tiger for one.

    March 20, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Arya from Indonesia

    wow that's great !

    April 10, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SILENTASTHEWIND

    FANTASTIC ABOUT TIME WE MADE SOME PROGRESS IN THIS CLONING BUSINESS ONCE DONE WE CAN MOVE ON TO THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK AT HAND AND CLONE CINDY CRAWFORD,AND CLAUDIA SCHIFFER.

    April 13, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tanzir Hossain

    is it nuclear cloning? then what about mitocondrial cloning? infact the mammoth will be hybrid.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ashok

    - I've been thinking the same thing for the past year. If ohrets before me can do something, why can't I? It's comforting to know that even really talented people such as yourself have the same doubts sometimes. One of my favorite quotes is:Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore RooseveltFebruary 17, 2011 12:31 am

    August 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. glenview0818

    This is great, I wonder why CNN removed it from the news page? I hope to see more science storys in the future.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
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