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. Kurtis

    If I could clone mouse, I would an I'd be 657 pounds!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Funkymonkey1

    I'll leave you with these parting thoughts, About 70 specied go extinct every day. Many of these may hold the key to medical or scientific breakthroughs, such as cures for cancer, AIDS, CF, etc. Perhaps bringing the Mamoth back is just the first step in learning more about a previously untapped and unknown realm of scentific discovery that may lead to breakthroughs that will positively change the world as we know it. Perhaps it will bring and end to or at least reduce the suffering experienced by countless people every day.

    Or maybe they'll just produce some really cool fur coats.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alan

    Pretty some saber tooths

    January 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • timd

      Yes! Seriously. That would rule.

      January 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. azrael

    Next on the list I hope they roll a Moa

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

    Mammoths died off 4-5,000 years ago, isolated pockets held out. No one knows why they died off. One thing is sure, the ecosystems they inhabited changed when they disappeared. The short amount of time they have been gone, compared to the millions of years they existed, says to me that it would not be a bad idea to bring them back. There are plenty of recently extinct mammals that we should try to bring back. What a gift to our grandchildren, who, may depend on this creature for their survival. Would it be wrong to bring back wales that have died off in the last 200 years? Either way, humans will do this, eventually, lets support the baby steps.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. timd

    Yep. Next they'll extract DNA from the shroud of turin and clone Jesus. That will be the second coming. Then finally, the world will see once and for all that Jesus was basically just a mellow, slightly burned out hippy not unlike "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HomeOfTheWHopper

    Wolly Mammoth... its whats for dinner!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Better than all of you idiots

    There is no 'higher power' religion was a man made thing to control the ignorant masses and guess what it still works today... look at the idiots posting things without scientific proof. Science should be allowed to do what ever it has to, to be able to clean up this planet. There are too many humans. If they thin out herds of deer because there isn't enough food and water for them, why not do the same with humans. We should clone and make anything we want. The faster the better. We have soft tissue from dinosaurs, we are knocking on the door of dino DNA, hurry up science we need dinosaurs!!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ether

    First of all, do any of you think that your "intellegence" is greater than the natural and physical laws of the universe in which we live and die? By reading these comments, one would believe that. The arrogance humanity exhibits in this day and age is appalling. There are forces of nature that are in control of everything man percieves as "matter". Instead of exausting what little know how we have left in resurrecting an animal that didn't live thru natural selection, perhaps you should focus on the greater picture and what is happening to the very solar system that gives life on earth. Ever wonder why the climate is going back to the age in which this mammal became extinct in the first place? Just look at the sun...

    January 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • MostPeopleAreStupid

      I agree completely – let's stare at the sun and change the climate.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dutch

    Bring back the Mamoth! I heard that they tasted great!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jackowick

    Slippery slope logic is not a valid argument for those naysayers who are putting this on some kind of doomsday path. Read a college logic class text book.

    Imagine if mammoths can be raised in a livestock unfriendly wilderness for food and feed thousands if not millions. Wouldn't that be something God would approve of?

    And I can't wait for a mammoth fur steering wheel cover.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. eric niebauer

    Cool !!! Let's see what happens!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dutch

    What kind of dangerous germs did the Mamoth carry again? I forget?

    January 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Arpad101

    I suppose the reason why they went extinct in the first place is that we ate them all up.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    I think scientists should be concentrating on bigger things than cloning a mammoth. There are people out there dying of cancer and other types of illness that do not have cures. Shouldn't we be trying to preserve ourselves from instinction instead of trying to revive an already instinct species?

    January 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • freddie

      What is this instinction you speak of?

      January 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
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