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. Richard Jeason

    Then the T-Rex will follow later? We could end up with a "real" Jurassic Park in somebody's future. I am 65 so this won't happen in my future.

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

    I think that I saw a movie about this in 1957 when I was a kid called "DIONSAUROUS". I am also looking forward to the new movie about Gorgeous George.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. cinister

    The species became extinct for a reason. Stop screwing with nature.

    January 18, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. DJ Rosen

    Lygers, Tions and Bears, Oh, My! The Wizard of Oz as a geneticist gone mad. What's next, a Saber Toothed Tiger?
    Jurassic Park in baby steps. With the same results.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. IdiotControl

    Go Scientist! Humans parade around all the time so sure of ourselves that we have figured out everything there is to figure out and looked upon everything there is to be seen. As soon as we get close to the edge of science some jagaloon with a religion wants to get a picket sign and CHANT about the end of the world. Go back and chant to Mr.Edison when he was inventing the light bulb and i guarantee someone is getting punched in the mouth. New science is the only way we are going to last on this planet, who knows t\what we could learn from this... We need to rebuild what we have broken and stop letting scared people stand in the way.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. very important person

    Now if we could just clone a real blog.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Shan

      Your string of comments are fun.


      January 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. very important person

    I bet they will fake the clone just to get more money.Something tells me we will soon see a normal baby elephant with a wierd hair cut.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Shan

      This comment is my favorite.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. very important person

    BTW never call a mammoth an elephant to his face,they really hate that.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. very important person

    ever notice that when a mammoth orders a coke he asks for no ice?

    January 18, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Jurassic Park... That is all.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. iluvmy9kk

    hey, anyone remember Jurassic Park? Here we go messing with things we have no business messing with. The extinction of these animals happened for a reason. What's next? Raptors? It's an irresponsible thing to do. We will eventually cause the demise of our own civilization. The dinosaurs, { or mammoth} and man should never co-exist. For what possible reason would all this money and time be spent on bringing back a massive animal. Put the money and time to better use. Oh, yeah, how about cancer research.......

    January 18, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. very important person

    I was going to tell you all some mammoth jokes,but they are older than elephant jokes.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike M

    Why don't they do something practical like find a way to clone only the ivory in order to flood the market with it and put all the elephant poachers out of business thus saving a species from being hunted into extinction? Really, what in the world can they possibly do with a throw-back animal like this other than pat themselves on the back? They cannot just release it into the wild and caging it will be a false environment for studying its behavior.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • John Miller

      You might be interested to know that fossil ivory (from mammoths or mastadons ) already helps put a crimp in the illegal ivory trade.

      January 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ted

    This Mammoth project is very promising. It will further the cause of man's intellectual discovery while being tender and low in cholesterol.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. very important person

    Leno if I hear that one I will take one of your testicles and have deep fried.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
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