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. ybs

    When we could resurrect jesus (if it exists), confirming how he resembles a neanderthal would be easier.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hfjkhsd

    GO SCIENCE!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kim

    The Mammoth wasn't chosen for extinction nor did natural conditions cause it's extinction. Mans evolution into hunter gatherers is what caused their extinction. Heck, we have almost caused our modern elephant's extinction.

    So if we ended the Mammoth's rein here on Earth, isn't it the right thing to do to give it a second chance? As someone already said it is just a hairy elephant. Besides they would probably only be in Canada and Russia where they would have the room.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    A mammoth at a zoo would draw thousands and thousand of people, and millions of dollars. Each zoo should have one. A great idea.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. extinct?

    Without a mammoth mother or herd to teach it, it will learn only captive elephant. As for the reason they went extinct, try blaming MAN.....Its not like we havent sent many more to extinction. They really just want to play jurasic park.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Neanderthal

    ungowa, me likes mammoth, me so hungry for mammoth steak. mmmmmmmm me want mammoth back.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Funkymonkey1

    Now we need to come up with a name for the baby Mammoth. I like Sheb Wooley Mammoth or maybe David Mammoth.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arpad101

      Mammy McCloneit

      January 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BD

    I'm not against cloning if there is a good reason for it. But their reasons are "After the mammoth is born, we'll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors." What a load of crap! They just want to play around in their lab and satisfy their own curiosity. If they do find out why the mammoth became extinct, how exactly do they plan on making good use of that information? Who gives a sh!t why or how it became extinct? Instead, why don't the dumba$$es inversely study one of the millions of living species and see why they AREN'T extinct? Better yet, the morons might get even more precise answers from the carcass they are extracting the DNA from.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ed

    An african elephant to give birth to a mammoth?? they will create a monster out of all this

    January 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. conoclast

    Maybe the clone of the wooly mammoth will come out in a nice crisp cotton - for the non ice-age (the global-warming age? Sorry)

    January 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. abbyful

    God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.
    Dinosaurs eat man … woman inherits the earth.

    (Yes, I know mammoths aren't dinosaurs.)

    January 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      Woman starves to death while trying to operate the Tivo.

      Machines inherit the Earth.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dillydally

    Blah blah blah, playing god is nothing new why stop now. Just to make sure our resurrected woolies dont get any designs for world domination, lets make sure they stay endangered. It shouldn't be hard b/c I hear ground up mammoth tusk makes your weiner get bigger.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. azrael

    I honestly hope they succeed........

    January 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. benbot87

    I hope they do bring back the mammoth. The woolly mammoth went extinct because WE humans hunted it to extinction. With all of today's food sources, I see no reason why the Mammoth cannot survive today!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. neighter

    i welcome our new mammoth overlord. may humanity serve him/her well.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
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