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."

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Japan • Russia • U.S.
soundoff (1,588 Responses)
  1. Adam Wanshaer

    Often times in science, a project stretches a research muscle that would not have been stretched otherwise. This knew knowledge is then brought into other arenas. It may be hard for the non-scientific community to understand the importance of this but trust in them. 24 hour news cycles and unlimited access has turned us all in to commentators on topics we've no right (many times) to comment on. I do not look over the shoulder of my plumber. I do not believe preachers belong in science class just as scientists do not belong in Sunday school. Everyone, please relax, breath, all of this has been done before with other species.

    To those worried about long dormant diseases I assure these professional have taken that into consideration. This process will be done under the greatest of care and oversight. No scientist would want this compromised. The argument for or against human cloning should not be housed in this context.

    We need to discipline our minds people. Seek primary source information. And please do not get your news from TV or Blogs. This country needs rational, educated discussion and this comment string is a perfect example of this need.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike M

      Speaking of dormant diseases... what about a dormant immune system? This animal's immune system will be totally out of step with current day pathogens that continued evolving since the last time this creature walked the earth. The baby might get catch a cold or flu virus and drop dead. I jope they're prepared for that problem.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. ron brooks

    Wow. I would love to see this come true. They can clone T Rex for all I care.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jon

    Just because we CAN doesn't mean we SHOULD. There is a difference. I guess it never occurred to scientists (btw, I happen to be one), that maybe things are better left alone. Instead of tinkering around with resurrecting things that maybe were meant to go extinct by the natural order of things, they ought to be looking at other more important things. Stop playing God, Buddha, Allah, , and focus on science that isn't creating/resurrecting/modifying life. We are NOT the creator. Stop acting like it.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Interesting how CNN likes to censor peoples' postings on here as they did with mine earlier. I put in a comment in my posting that said: "" and they conveniently omitted it. Let's see if they do it again.

      January 18, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. very important person

    I see the " what we need " police have arrived

    January 18, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. very important person

    I dated a T-Rex trust me she was a lousy kisser.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Adam Wanshaer

    He says with spelling errors haha... Be well everyone. Don't make enemies in comment strings b/c of topics none of us are really qualified to chime in on. This should be a place to share ideas, not attack.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. very important person

    I challenged this T-Rex to an armwrestling match once,he was not amused.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. IdiotControl

    Mammoths and people have already co existed.......Someone needs a little history channel!!!! Plus i think raptors running around with people would be pretty funny. We need a little survival of the fittest. All we have now is survival of the fattiest.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • bal

      Yeah. I call being John Hammond

      January 18, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Adam Wanshaer

    To avoid attack I was talking about my spelling errors when I said "He says with spelling errors haha" 🙂

    January 18, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dex


    I don't mean to be insensitive but...

    I guess it's just lucky your dad wasn't an identical twin.

    Emit... it would grow its own soul, just the way real life does. What do you think they're making these clones out of, lego?

    Anyways. Perhaps you ought be more worried about them using transgenic manipulation of goats to generate spider web in their milk than you are about the rebirth of death species as a whole creature.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Gale

      @ Dex, yes I know this but he did not have a twin and it would be in a different sense if he did have one. But the fact is he didn't. My main point on this matter is I feel like scientist should use time and money on more important things in life instead of resurrecting every creature that has ever been extincted. I feel like they are gone for a reason, if it was not for a reason then they would still be here but they are not. So I think they should leave it alone. But hey a lot of people are hating on me bc I wanted to speak my opinion just like they did. Maybe I should not care bc some (not talking about you) people seem to care less about anything nowadays...

      January 19, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. very important person

    A million years from now they will find my DNA laying next to bottles of whisky.They will use this DNA to make a baby,the baby will grow to be a man,and scientists will point and laugh at his small penis.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • magnus

      geez, you are an alcoholic with a small penis. tough break dude.

      January 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. IdiotControl

    We used to do cool things like walking on the moon....Now we just sit around and worry about everybody's feelings.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. STLBroker

    Great! Maybe the mammoth carries a disease that will kill the entire human race. Guess we are going to find out whether we like it or not.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. IdiotControl

    These people are smart enough to clone a Mammoth.......You think they are going to forget to check it for bugs first? I guess we should stop doing anything because of what might happen.... Maybe you should stop driving because you might crash. We have learned from human history that the earth does not need a cloned animal to create a disease that wipes out a bunch of people..... Its call the DARK AGES or the BLACK PLAGUE!

    January 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IdiotControl


    January 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50