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. Yerkyll

    This is not a good idea. If it proves out, someone with an unscrupulous moral background (about 1/2 the human race) would be interested in bringing back any number of interesting animals...saber tooths, a phobosuchus (huge croc), megaladon (shark of unusual proportions), perhaps a gigantosaurus or two (larger than T.Rex), maybe even some Cave Bears. Then, since there will be very few of them, they will instantly be listed as endangered by Obama's USFWS, and given protected status. Then of course, you have to protect their 'critical habitat' and move all human activity out of that area...shrinking human habitation even further by increasing the density of human population centers.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ardee Harhar

    I hope it can talk like on Whacky and Packy!

    January 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sam

    i totally agree with lee just because your scientist doesnt mean you can do that !!!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dj


    January 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joseph

    I sure don't want to give up scientific advances that have benefited us and I want scientists to keep progressing onward with discoveries, including ones involved in this project.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jennah

    Oh we can spend all this money on cloning, but not on finding a way to help humankind?? First we overpopulate the world, but wait...we kill off animals which already now we want to bring back one from the dark ages for what purpose? I just don't get it...we have too much money and too little altruistic tendencies. The day there is no hungry child in this world, maybe then I can support this crap.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jaketrout

    If I encountered a clone of myself, how would I know which one I was?

    January 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wowww

    I am now officially dumber having read all of your comments. Thank you.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. theotherguy

    Has anyone done invitro on an elephant before? Shouldn't they get those bugs worked out first?

    January 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. a p garcia

    Obama wants to drive us to live like people of that time. So why not a food source of that time-mamoth burgers.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IdiotControl

    Wow Bobo! Id like to hear your definition of verbal Diarrhea. This coming from a guy that can some how bring the word liberal into a blog about mammoths. Ignorant thinking such as global worming denial got our planet to this point in the first place. I guess in return to your comment above i should be aloud to say the republican nut jobs need to realize this church on Sunday BS isn't going to cut it anymore when it comes to making a difference. Might want to tuck in that bottom lip before the rest of your teeth fall out.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kit

    love the idea all for it.religion needs to be extinct and i doubt anyone in their right mind would try to ressurrect that.unonino its the oldest lie around lets evolve already

    January 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joseph

    I bet cavemen started forest fires after discovering fire, yet they didn't give fire up. People probably got run over by wheeled carts, yet they didn't give up the wheel. People get electrocuted, yet we don't give up electricity. Let's move biology forward with caution like with everything.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. IdiotControl

    You said it KIt, couldn't of said it better myself. How long do we sit around and let these people hold us back. They are so afraid that new science will prove them wrong. Little do they know it already did. I'm fine if you want to be religious just keep it to your damn selves and stay of the business of people who want to live logicaly.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IdiotControl

    out of

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