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. neko

    I am not deriving this from a religious standpoint and I am not completely against this but what keeps running through my mind is everything really does happen for a reason and the mammoth is extinct was there good reason for this? Maybe this is something that we shouldn't be playing with.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bobo

    LOL too bad idiots like IdiotControl (or should that be IdiotPatrol) don't think ahead before the verbal diarrhea spews from all of their orifices.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gale

      @ Bob Lmao!!

      January 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. rt3

    I SEE DEAD PEOPLE!

    January 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BoB

    No hold on, this is not some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs, uh, *had* their shot, and nature *selected* them for extinction

    January 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • d-advocate

      Most of the available evidence seems to show that the mammoths final extinction was caused by over hunting, though there were under much environmental pressure from the receding glaciers. If it were man who caused them to go extinct, do we not have an obligation to try to bring them back?

      January 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lolz

    I WANT A MAMMAPHANT!

    January 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jurassic_Park_is_a_movie

    OH and by the way, the idiots who keep saying "everything happens for a reason blah blah yada yada" - OK where is there any evidence that ANYTHING happens for a reason? As far as I can tell, nothing happens for a reason, and people who think things happen for a reason are just droolers and mouth-breathers.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Q

      It's called the "law of cause and effect". For every effect there's a cause. Just because a cause connected to an event cannot always be identified, doesn't mean there was no reason (i.e., cause) for it (i.e., the effect) having occurred. By your definition, because Einstein believed in the law of cause and effect, Einstein was a "mouth drooler". You're a funny sort of guy. Keep posting.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lee

    Did they not see Jurassic Park???

    January 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ACE

    That would be an accomplishment, not to mention it would drive all these religious freaks crazy.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lolz

    No an accomplishment would be a clonned mammoth, not a mammaphant.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      A mammaphant? You can't clone an animal without something to gestate the little bugger in. And since we don't have MAMMOTH'S (you might have noticed) we have to use the next best thing. The clone (the mammoth) wouldn't be half elephant, his DNA is completely mammoth. Try not to say such dimwitted things and then people won't have to waste their time replying.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tomizzo

    sounds like a hopi prophecy i got told before. he said something about prehistoric animals returning to earth....kinda weird

    January 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sid

    Wow scientists really think they can bring extinict life back? Be serious they are extinict for a reason, they are not suppposed to be here anymore. I feel bad for these scientists.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      So.. maybe the reason is so that they could be cloned 10,000 years after their extinction.. Served.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    I weep for this country's future after reading most of these asinine posts. First off, we've benn cloning organisms for quite a long time now, so that is nothing new. Trying to bring back an extinct animal is a very exciting prospect, and it SHOULD be persued, but for scientific discovery and entertainment only – not for the reintroduction back into the ecosystem.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kreads

    Just because you have the Moniker "Scientist" doesn't mean you are operating with a full load or both oars in the water.
    Clone a Mammoth to live in a cage for the rest of it's life so people can come and stare at it and throw things at it. Oooooo I sure can see the intelligence in that. Where people clones are concerned, GEEEEEEEZ! All your heads need to be omitted
    if you plan to be a future "Clown" (oops I think I meant clone?)

    January 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lee

    Why? There is no legit purpose to this. They are simply doing this to prove to themselves that they can. People, just because you can do a thing does not mean you should. Remember the law of unindended results.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John Q

    This just might give great hope to the super wealthy, but twisted among us. In a Godless-society of the future, their children can have clones made for replacement parts, if they should ever need the transplantation of a vital body organ later in life. Of course, the clones will need to have their brains zapped so they don't realize their true function in life. And just think of how the military and police forces can use clones derived from their best human "fighting-machines". And what a wonderful Hitleresque world it would it would be. So by all means clone the mammoth and then let's see what they do next. The cloning of other animals (sheep) has supposedly been done already. And, if I recall, the cloning of humans has already been attempted. Personally, I don't go for this sort of thing - human nature being what it is.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
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