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. very important person

    On a slightly more serious note we should find out who's funding this project.
    We have children dying by the millions in Africa from a mosquito,cloning is hardly a scientific priority if you ask me.
    I bet this is bieng funded by some uber-rich group as a possible way to get people excited about cloning,harvesting of human organs up next.

    That was tough,humor back on tap

    January 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dick tater

    Hey cloning news junkies, do a search – obama cloning and the coming space war

    January 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nicole

    To everyone ranting over all the possible good or bad outcomes please think about this. There are many great things that could come from this study, but there will also be some negative side effects as well. I wouldn't want to stop science just for fear of what "might" happen, but we need to be aware of were this leads us so we can stop things that do start to go too far. It's like with children you want them to learn and grow, but as adults we set acceptable boundaries to keep things in line. So don't freak out before it's time, but also don't be a fool and turn a blind eye. Lets watch this closely and see how we can assist our worlds scientist into being the best they can be. (PS- please look past my bad grammar and spelling, I am working on them. I ask that you just hear the message behind it all).

    January 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gale

      @ Nicole you make a very good point. Just wish their studies was on better ideas sometimes. 🙂

      January 19, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Name*randy

    Ya better quit playin god before he release another deadly disease or worst bring about armageddon

    January 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anon Amus

    The Movie is called "The Thaw – 209". Let the scientist beware...

    January 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IdiotControl

    Well said Nicole! Some peps are so uptight. Everyone needs to breath in and out and every things going to be ok lol

    January 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. IdiotControl

    No one on this planet has a clue what God is, let alone trying to play one. OMG cloneing a mammoth will bring armageddon!!!!!! do you here your self when you speak? i have nothing against religion but its got to stop holding back this planet.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BBQ King

    Looks delicious!

    January 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. very important person

    nicole,I know a hot clone when I hear one

    January 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Red Ruffansore

    The only reason they are performing this research is because the DNC is soon to be extinct due to small brains and the inability to adapt to change, this is just a weak attempt to buy more time. Sorry but hope-N-change has doomed you as museum pieces.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jimbo O"hara


    January 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LISA

    Okay great, people are smart enough to do this and it sounds exciting but when is someone going to step up and say "Do you think this is a wise thing to do?" Why bring back a pre-historic beast that is way out of his time. What is going to happen when someone decides to play GOD further and these beast end up out of a confined enviroment?

    January 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bobo

    Hey, was room temperature 70 degrees during the Mammoth years? no. OH NOES, GLOBAL WARMING !!!!!! Welcome liberal nutjubs, the earth is a dynamic geological marvel. In case you don't know what "dynamic" means, it means "changing". That's what the Earth does, is doing, and always will do.

    So tell Al Hore to get his grimy fiingers out of the Carbon Exchange bank to which he owns 10% of.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ClarkOHrepub

    A tantilizing dilemma! to see a mammoth walk the earth again.....and perhaps carry a long lost disease that threatens humankind too?

    January 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Annoyed

    Leave nature be. These animals are extinct for a reason and they should stay that way! What happens if this animal escapes? Ever seen an escaped elephant and the damage that does? This is not a natural thing to do and it should not be done. No one should play God. Take the money they are using for this project and put it to better use like researching alternative energy so we can stop distroying our earth even farther.

    January 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
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