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. dopey1947

    It was very cold when they were alive originally. If they manage to clone the animal, will it be able to survive in today's climate?

    January 18, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    Interesting. maybe it will have intelligence and learn to speck.LOL

    January 18, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Steve

    Interesting. maybe it will have intelligence and learn to speak.LOL

    January 18, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. dopey1947

    Also, why bring back extent animals. It would be better to focus how the keep current animals from dying off.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    They aren't going to be able to study the mammoth's ecology unless they build a time machine.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgruntledGrrl

      YEAAAHHH I saw the flaw in that logic, too. "Ecology? But...."
      Maybe it's a mistranslation.

      January 18, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kim Tsuan

    I thought this article was going to be about Oprah.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gentlehycent

    This is incredible. . .let's see what would be the outcome. . .haha

    January 18, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jonathan

    I hope they take in to consideration size proportion. The poor momma of this creation will probably have to be put down to give birth.

    January 18, 2011 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. My

    This is a really bad idea! The scary thing is that this could be accomplished. :-/

    January 18, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sam

    You guys are a crack up. 🙂

    January 18, 2011 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jim Chapman

    God help us! When man starts to play "god." I can not help but wonder if the end is nigh. What is to be accomplished by bringing back these extinct creatures?

    January 18, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dino

    I hope they bring back Neanderthals so Bush can have another drinking buddy. They will be hunters like Sarah Palin and D!ck Cheney except they wont be able to use guns.

    January 18, 2011 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    This is awesome!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. jabusse

    Clone one to see why the species went extinct? It went extinct because the last one died. Nothing from a clone born today from a different species will shead any light on why the last mammouth one died. Overhunting, too warm? disease? Predators? Sounds like scientists with funding problems to me....

    January 18, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. just me

    Why not clone a T-REX???? I am sure they can find some DNA for that somewhere.. Here we come JARASSIC PARK!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgruntledGrrl

      Nahh, oddly enough my husband and I were talking about impact of a dinosaur suddenly appearing in our world just yesterday.
      We figure 15 minutes before it suffocated to death.

      January 18, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
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