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. Mr. Happy Man

    That would be really cool if they could clone this! Then they could close other extinct mammals, especially those made extinct over the last 100 years.
    The scientists are making this for their own benefit. Of course, they will have to publish their work (although I suspect it wouldn't be that hard to do). Then others would clone it, and we might revive a species. Of course, it would depend on whether or not the cloned specimen would come with enough instincts to survive – including the instinct to mate, the instinct to determine what to eat, and the instinct of how to pass mammoth (as opposed to elephant) survival skills to the next generation. If this could happen, then we could very much see a revived species, one that could once again roam the northern hemisphere.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. lance

    We can clone a mammoth but still no luck on curing diabetes. .cancer.. or any other pesky diseases ... also no luck on a cost efficient energy source lol come on scientists ...

    January 18, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • mpristave

      Because scientists that specialize in cloning and animal fertilization can really fight diabetes and cancer. Are you a janitor? How about you fix my computer. I mean as a janitor i'm sure you fix doors or something so a computer should be the same thing.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgruntledGrrl

      Lance, lance, lance.
      You probably voted against Stem cell research, too.

      January 18, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. mpristave

    F YES!!!

    Think of it, pastures of mammoth kept in check by sabretooth tigers, sheered for mammoth fur hats! Also we can have mammoth races where people ride mammoths through the frozen tundra of Canada! Best of all, mammoth steaks. I am salivating just thinking of that. I WANT TO EAT THEM

    January 18, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Marco

    Why the Mammoth and not the Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    January 18, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • mpristave

      No TREX DNA.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mark5

    I thought they became extinct from humans hunting them?

    January 18, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sailordude

    I bet the Chinese will pay big bucks for some Mammoth tusk and Mammoth meat!

    January 18, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sumerian Annunaki

    Lets Clone Jesus next!!

    January 18, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sumerian Annunaki

    btw, if they hurry they can have them cloned just in time
    for the New Ice Age we're heading into now!!!! lol

    January 18, 2011 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dustin

    this idea of a mammoth would be so damn cool, i would not mind them trying to bring back some of the really cool dinos back from the dead, after all we mad jurassic park, why not try and bring them to life, we can see how they lived, acted and other things as well.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andacar

    Hooray, another triumph for science. These guys remind me of Oswald Cabal, the steely-jawed fanatical technocrat in the 1937 Sci Fi epic "Things to Come." His basic idea was that progress and science must always progress, because humanity must march onward, conquering the universe, trying every experiment, because we can, and to hell with the consequences. He had that gleam in his eyes of the religious fanatic, except that his religion was Science with a capitol S. I suppose the fellows involved in this particular experiment have convinced themselves that it’s all for "the greater good," or "the big picture" or… something. No doubt they'll feel the same way when they start experimenting with human cloning, eugenics, etc. When the thing finally comes out, I hope one of them doesn't start bellowing, "LIFE! LIFE! GIVE MY CREATION LIFE!"

    January 18, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim Tsuan

      Fail. I'm not even sure what you failed in, but it was definitely a fail.

      January 18, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. beasterdamas

    I guess they should start working on the Tyrannosaurus Rex too, so we can make more gas....

    January 18, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |

    Many times man is the primary cause for the extinction of a species. I am thinking in this case, things ought to be left as they are.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin

    Scientists are coming closer and closer to creating life from scratch. They have been able to build DNA from scratch, and are working on how the cell mebrane and other functions will begin to take shape, but the theory is that mixing the right amount of material and energy they can create a very simple one cell organism from the ground up.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • mary

      Wow..I wonder what wild and crazy form of life they will create. Hope it's not higher on the food chain than humans..

      January 18, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. mary

    Well, lets hope the real cause of the extinction wasn't a terrible disease..

    January 18, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    wooly mammoths must of had some epic dingleberries back there.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
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