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. kit

    imagine what we can learn.this could be the healthiest meat mankind has ever ate and we have'nt had it in our diet for centuries.Ppl this meat could prob cure diabetes.mammoth meatand ajuicer could be better4u than subway lol

    January 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • vtwinr

      That's similar to what I was wondering...How many burgers could you get out of that herculean beast?

      January 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richie P

      the kinki University professor is going to impregnate an elephant. hehehe...

      January 19, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • KrugerPark

      To generate that meat you would have to feed the mammoth a lot of food-hence sustainability is a question. Food consumed/unit mass of a blue whale or an elephant is not too different from a human being

      January 19, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • acesh

      Rubbish. The meat on this thing won't be any sort of wonder food. What THIS BEAST is fed will be much more influential on how healthy the meat is than any other factor.

      January 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry M

      I wonder just how happy this African elephant is going to be trying to deliver this huge hairy baby. I guess by Caesarean Section. I've a feeling that Mama elephant might just express her anger when she sees what man has implanted inside her. "And they'll expect me to suckle that thing?" Out of their minds, they are. Let them suckle it!

      January 20, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elephant

      how sad for that baby

      January 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The first thing someone has to say.. HEY I CAN"T WAIT TO EAT IT!!!!

      And you want to go into space? ha

      January 30, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • yum

      Mmmmmmm... McMammoth

      It sounds great and I'm sure it'll taste even better

      February 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • claudia

      This is going in the same direction of "Jurassic Park". It is not wise to play with life. As it was mentioned... "Life finds its way".

      February 7, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      Amazing! Here we are, about to tackle an extraordinary scientific task which will trigger some significant ethical, scientific and philosophical issues... And here you are, thinking of mamoth-burgers!

      February 8, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • fabian

      Where did hell did you get that idea? The article said nothing of the sort and you just randomly spewed some nonsensical statement.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Wow.. that's about a dozen people who can't take a joke.

      February 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fuzzy wuzzy

    That's going way too far. Besides I wonder what this planet could accomplish if they put half the time effort and money into important things like curing Aids, or Cancer or other leading diseases or illnesses. Now that's real science.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I guess the billions we've spent on Aids & Cancer research didn't really happen!

      January 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • franniemae

      yea... aids and cancer cures have had their chance... we want the wooly mammoth!!!

      January 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Studies like thse may not directly cure cancer, but developing the technology and experience brings us one step closer to finding those cures. Exploring stem cell technology like this could open the doors to countless cures for human health issues. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, you have to start somewhere.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      This type of research advances more than just this one thing; it increases our overall knowledge of genetics and could easily lead to other breakthroughs. (and the sky daddy worshipers will hate it...Bonus!)

      January 19, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutemi

      It's too bad your wish couldn't come true; that they would put *half* the time and effort into AIDS and cancer research as cloning a wooly mammoth. I'd love to see your face when you realized how stupid that statement was.

      January 19, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • AUK

      Cancer aside, it is also important to realize that, with the exception of those born with it, AIDS is one of the most easily avoided diseases in existance. I'm 100% confident I'll never contract HIV/AIDS. If we could change behaviors, AIDS could be eliminated within a few generations. I'm not certain the billions we spend on AIDS research are really worth much.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • aCharlotteDad

      Are you a scientist? Do you work on "real science"? I didn't think so. If I understand you right, you want all research dollars – both public and private – to pass some kind of test that you come up with to determine if it's focused on cancer and AIDS. Research on this type of work has benefit to many areas of biological sciences.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • lee s

      You obviously havent been paying attention to those fields of research and/or have no idea how those fields move along. I suggest you research on your own what strides they have made in the past 10-15 years and then post that asinine comment again.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      fuz, they are actually working on those things and many cancers are already curable. Also, explain how animal research on elephant DNA takes money away from AIDS research?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • leebo

      I think we have too many ppl to begin with dude

      January 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Z.

      Aids is doing its intended job by getting rid of undesired populations. Poor people in Africa, gays and drug users, I think aids and its search for a cure have had more than their fair share of 15 minutes of fame. Time for some Mammoth cloning. I am sorry if I offended someone who has lost someone to Aids.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bazoing

      Did the article say who's money was being spent? Do you want us to close the parks, zoos, and entertainment industry. By your standards your lawn and garden money, not to mention cosmetics, and texting are wasted because they are not being spent for cancer research. This is a fun idea. The fact is that there are at least four unemployed or under-employed science PhDs in the US for everyone which is in a proper position. In some countries there are more. Loosen up and let us enjoy life before the cancer of boredom kills us. Likewise this kind of work gives publicity to research which could replace a number of creatures that have gone extinct in the modern era.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Doh

      I dont think we dictate what people choose to work on, unless you wanna live like a nazi

      January 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • codeanom4ly

      I guess you forget how much money our pharma industry makes off people with cancer.. or the millions we've already dropped into it. Sad, but true.

      January 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sciman45

      This is biotechnology. It has many uses in the medical field.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Right....and going to the moon did nothing to advance technologies which in turn have helped to save lives? Oh never mind, that was a hoax anyway.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      What most scientist are trying to discover by cloning animals, it's the cloning benefits for humans. I'm not talking about cloning an entire human. It's a fact that thousands of people are waiting for hearts, livers, and other vital organs so that they may life a full life. In the future, that may not be the case, with cloning technologies. A lot of people don't believe it's right because of "God" but how right is it to let a person die young or suffer through life if there is any chance at helping them?

      January 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      oops.. LIVE a full life. Guess I should have proof read that.

      January 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      I won't matter how much money is spent on attempting to cure AIDS or cancer; the pharmaceutical companies won't allow that to happen because they are rich from the cancer and AIDS medicines they manufacture.

      February 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kook

      Cancer and aids will never be cured because money is in the medicine and treatments. They'll just make it possible to live forever w/ it.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Codifex Maximus

      Curing AIDS would require massive DNA work – kinda like these guys are practicing now. Anyway, if you wanna cure something, cure stupidity. We were stupid enough to hunt and eat monkeys and apes – now we' have "acquired" AIDS – pretty stupid huh?

      February 7, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Those are in fact real sciences, but let's not forget there are other fields within the scope. Everything has it's place within the scientific community and is handled by the specialists who do the research. This is as well a "real" science.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      in response to "That's going way too far. Besides I wonder what this planet could accomplish if they put half the time effort and money into important things like curing Aids, or Cancer or other leading diseases or illnesses. Now that's real science."

      February 10, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • malibu1369

      Nope, all science is real science. It is very, very rare in science that when you have a goal you meet it, usually you end up with discoveries that you weren't expecting. Parkinson's isn't being cured because we are looking for a Parkinson's cure but because we discovered an activity of a drug that we were already using elsewhere. Aids will not be cured because of the work being done but most likely by genetic work being done just like this.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Mammoths are cool. How about saving some of the species that are going extinct everyday?

    January 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • franniemae

      Hey, we can clone them too.

      January 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee s

      99% of all species that have EVER lived on planet earth are extinct. We are not the cause of all extinctions you know. There were species dying off by the hundreds and thousands before we were here and it will happen long after we are gone. With over 2 million different species of animal and counting on the planet its a little hard to save them all isnt it?

      January 19, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      The only way to preserve those species whose extinction we are causing, is to save their habitats and to stop forcing them from their rightful homes.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve Medved

    I just bought domain name.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark anonymous

      what are ya gonna do with that domain?

      January 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mammo-hunter

      HAHAHA! That's the funniest thing I've read this week. Hey–if the meat marketing venture fails, you can always make it rich as an adult-site webmaster! (Can I sign on?)

      January 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kiwimom

    This is great! This could be tied into medical science with great results. I kinda like the food application too, just stay away from all the crap thats shot into food animals now.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anne

    More importantly, when are they going to make miniature giraffe's like on that commercial? I want it NOW, daddy!

    January 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      I want an itty bitty giraffe now too.

      January 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zee

      Anne, you just made my day with your comment!

      January 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeavyLoads

      The miniature giraffe did indeed once represent the holy grail of what we humans had hoped genetic/embryonic research could accomplish.... Little did we know that idea would soon be supplanted with the possibility of a MINIATURE MAMMOTH!!! The sweet irony!

      February 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Yes, we NEED miniature Giraffes.

      February 16, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. JLin

    Please let me be the first to leap from a tree onto his back and lance him him at the base of his skull. I would eat his warm liver and spend the night in his gutted carcass. I would then go home to shower and take a nap.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpaceHillbilly

      If you're female....marry me! 😀

      January 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JLin

    Can you imagine a herd of these things in Africa? The locals would have them all machine-gunned in a week. Their ivory would be on sale in China within the month.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • franniemae

      so true

      January 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • farwan

      How about a heard in Yellowstown park? They would be mammoths after all.

      January 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee s

      Africa really? A WOOLLY MAMMOTH is very well suited to live in the warm and tropic jungle climate on the continent of Africa. Idiot. These things were from north america. They lived on the west coast and up in canada.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • NewWorld Cdn

      Yes, like North Americans/Europeans never hunted a species to near extinction, or used any species for only one specific thing and sold it for profit, or consumed any species no matter the cost. Your comment is pathetic. The only reason you can say what you said is that you are not trying to put food in your children's mouths. Americans/Europeans… have been one of the worse abusers of nature for centuries, and now that you've made your profits and raised your standard of living you have the guts to be Holier than thou?

      January 26, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. jo

    Papa jesus wont allow this to happen.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Thou shalt not anger the sky daddy!

      January 19, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. JLin

    Anne: I like the miniature giraffe idea. They would make nice purses.

    January 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpunkyderWonderMonkey

      I like baby harp seal hats and a nice manatee steak on the gill...

      January 19, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Purses out of tiny giraffes? Tatto'ed people make good, colorful lampshades and purses.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. kit

    Which are you? the ones living a lie and fine with it or the ones that knows its a lie and wants the truth.i want the truth g%#dammit

    January 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      I'm the one with the big fuzzy hat.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. mark anonymous

    i hope they decide to raise it in a semi cold climate so it acclimates and grows the fur there famous for and imagine the money from putting it on display at disneyland or world or a high end zoo

    January 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      so much wrong with that sentence. im no PETA nut or anything but if we really do resurrect this mammoth i hope our goal isn't to fill zoos up with them

      January 24, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. franniemae

    wow.... too cool. don't care what any of you say. I want to see it.

    January 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • johail

      yeah me too i dont care what they say i want to see a WOOLLY MAMMOTH lol i cant wait for this its going to be awesome!

      January 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. IdiotControl

    I need a fish for the back of my car with a mammoth in it, high fiving a Darwin fish!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don

    They need to clone a t-Rex with machine gun arms

    January 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      FUND IT NOW!

      January 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
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