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. WiseGuy

    Science is cool!

    January 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cbm

    Now if we could clone Abe Lincoln et al to replace the current crop of "leaders" I'd be all for that!!

    January 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. toodles

    Actually I saw a show on the Discovery Channel that said volcano's erupted and caused the earth to go dark. I forget the name of it but it was a really big super volcano. That makes more sense than global warming or climate change. Change I don't nor never will believe in. I have lived too long and nothing in the weather has changed. It just goes in cycles.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie254

      Are u serious???hv u NOT been watching the news...there's drastic weather changes all around the world!it hasnt rained for the past 3years in my country and farmers are paying 4 it..we hv people starving!but hey i guess u hv to be affected by the climate change for u to ACTUALLY believe it!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Change I don't nor never will believe in'
      never will? way to keep an open mind to reviewing any new evidence that comes along.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. toodles

    I would like Abe Lincoln back too. He was a republican.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Annie254

    @LWR... true...besides it wld probably be a waste of money anyways!am totaly FOR the Elvis idea though!!
    What are they going to feed it?hw will they recreate its natural habitat...what if they cnt contain it?they shouldnt be messing wth things are better left unknown!

    January 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Arpad101

    Clone Elvis Presley.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yusuf liman Damagum

    What a wasteful research is this? Instead of wastin ur time,money & energy over a cloning of Mammoth dat has no use 2 humanity why wuldn't u carry-out a research dat ll b of benefit 2 us.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoriCrest

      Yusuf: You lhave an extremely egocentric world view.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      Yusuf: Please go back on your meds! I couldn't understand a word you were slurring in your post. DON'T post and drink, my friend!

      January 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. justmeanddog

    This whole topic makes me think It may be well worth assembling a large store house of Human DNA along with samples of every other living thing that exists on this planet and load up several space probes with it. It could be shot out into space on randomly selected vectors. It would have to be properly shielded to protect it from Radiation and other hazards, but It could exist indefinitely in the cold of space and hopefully some time long after our Sun has died some sufficiently advanced race may find it and clone it. Or maybe not?????

    January 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lynne

    This is fantastically exciting! It would be wonderful to see mammoths walk the earth again.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Char Aznable

    You know that expression "Let sleeping dogs lie"?

    Yeah...seems like a good idea.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe in Colorado

    There's a wooly mammoth in my pants !

    January 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim A

    I think they should clone something that WE made extinct. Bring back the DODO!

    January 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kor

    Interesting, the species that made them extinct wants to bring them back lol how ironic. If they succeed will it fall under endangered species and be protected?

    January 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thebusiness

    what could possibly go wrong?

    January 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • lauren winston

      what?? didn't you see jurassic park???! lol

      January 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arpad101

      It might end up being a totally new species.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dinosaur Bob

    These are not meat eaters they are plant eaters. It's only a matter of time and we'll be able to clone all kinds of fossils, as long as the DNA is retrievable. I've seen dinosaur fossils with preserved tendon that were pliable like rubber bands. With this kind of preservation anythings possible.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
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