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. Susan

    I think this is just really really cool. I don't really want the mammoth cloning guy working on curing cancer (and I have had much direct experience with cancer in my life). I'm pretty sure we're talking about a different area of expertise. I'm happy he's the mammoth cloning guy.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mark from mntaxwaste.com

    Why?

    February 1, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rok Soden

    What about cloning a Neanderthal with a human? Would he or she having voting rights? Would he or she be allowed to run for President? Have a drivers license? etc..

    February 1, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hymie

    My biggest question is: Why? My next biggest question is: For What?
    They want to clone a mammoth,,, WHY? They shout "Save the whales, Save the elephants, Save the Bison" For what?
    If these animals have outlived their purpose on this planet, let them go extinct. The mammoths had their shot on earth, leave them dead and buried. What if the cloned mammoth carries a prehistoric disease that gets loose and wipes out half the worlds population. Maybe that disease is what wiped them out and went extinct with them.
    It's just about as lame as the idiots that are digging FLU victims out of the frozen earth in Finland in hopes of getting hold of the original flu virus that wiped out 22 million people,,Why? If that gets loose there'll be hell to pay.

    February 1, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bobo

    Hey IdiotPatrol, check this comment out:
    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?

    Notice the words "receding glaciers" ?? Yea, receding as in tens of thousands of years ago, LONG BEFORE MAN started chucking "carbon" into the atmosphere. You idiot, the earth is a dynamic geological sphere which means it is forever "changing", without man's help. Although the atmosphere may be getting warmer around your mouth.

    February 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • xaocam

      Let's enter your simplified world and be shocked by your non-extensive knowledge. Before we started pumping CO2 into the air, the natural landscape wasn't fragmented, flora and fauna could easily migrate according to the changing climes, yes the climate does change, however this is also the first time it is being sped up by an organism at an unprecedented rate. Bobo the clown I guess hahahaha

      February 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. juan

    Clearly they never heard of a little movie called "Jurassic Park" (and yes...I know that the Mammoth isn't from the Jurassic period...nice try lol)

    February 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Teaparty

    This is against God. All science is against God.
    Scientists will never enter God's kingdom.
    Jesus is your savior. Repent for your sins.

    February 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • xaocam

      if all science is against God, then get off the computer, or is it only selected bits of science (much like your comical book the Bible), then where do you draw the line, go back to the stone age pilgrim

      February 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tyro

    I say clone Jesus that would be far more interesting

    February 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canuck1979

      Yeah, it would. The only problem is there is no evidence he ever existed. Sux eh?

      February 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leary

    I take the stance of the mathmatician in the movie. They had their time and it ended. Whether people like it or not there is a reason for this to happen in the grand display of life. A reason we are not meant to understand just like the dinos, the dodos, and eventualy us we all have an end

    February 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. xaocam

    It would be extraordinarilly fascinating, however I do worry about the potential pandoras box it could open. I reckon this technology will be exploited by big companies as a way to avoid protecting endangered species, "It is ok if we develop the land where the last remaining viable population exists as we can now put them in a gene bank and resurrect them later"

    February 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reelcheeper

    I think it's okay to breed one mammoth for scientific study, but we should definitely NOT introduce them into the environment. As with most other species that went extinct, there was probably a natural reason for the mammoths dying off. Maybe they consumed food faster than it could regrow, or maybe they were disrupting the environment (like humans are doing right now) and causing themselves harm. If nature could not handle the mammoths thousands of years ago, we should not try to synthetically bring them back today. Also, shouldn't our money be going to more important causes than mammoth resurrection?

    February 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ra Poobah

    By 2100, perhaps we'll be breeding hairless toy mammoths that will fit in women's purses?

    February 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. G

    i ASSUME you all realize this is what Jurrasic Park was all about!!

    Or are all these responders kids or youngins?!!

    February 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • b. Slider

      No,this is what ABDULLAHT HE BUTCHER IS ABOUT.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PETA-NOT!

    How come no one has tied this in with the global warming/climate change nazis? Didn't these critters die out because of that in the first place and now we have it all over again? The sky is falling! The ice is melting! The mammoths are emitting CO2! AHHHHH!

    On a side note, Anyone got a bigger grill for sale? Mammoth steaks.... mmmmmm. I suppose I could cut down some old growth forest and make a bonfire and roast them that way. Maybe in a Prius like a Dutch Oven. Yeah!

    February 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KING SOL

    I think it's a great idea.But we need a herd of them. I want to be the wrangler!! I can see it now–driving a herd of Mammoths up the Chisolm Trail to the rail head. Gill Favor, eat your heart out–where ever you are.

    February 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
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