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

    Lets clone the mammoth now and we can dothe ones going extinct now later

    January 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. IdiotControl

    China's working on it!

    January 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Deskboy

    I don't know why, but I thought I read something like this before. It didn't turn out too well as I recall. Oh well, what me worry?

    January 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bottom of the pile

    For what it's worth,mammoth ivory is being used to replace ivory keys on pianos since elephant ivory is illegal.It's true.Look it up.

    January 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jerry Kelly

    They need to clone at least 2. Mammoths were social animals. If you clone only one, it'll go crazy. And you don't want a crazy mammoth running around.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Codifex Maximus

      Just let it live with regular elephants – Asian or African. It probably wont know the difference.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. c.i.a.

    what s next, u.s army cloning t-rex using them for wars. ha ha ha that be crazy.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phil, Ohio

    Who will feed it and collect it's gas?

    January 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ShutUP

    Yet again another pointless, useless scientific "advance". And you just have to read the comments here... yeah, let's create more life to slaughter it and eat it... No need to ever clone neanderthals, the world is full of them.

    January 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Yeah, who needs scientific discoveries? I wish our ancestors never left the caves and remained gatherers. No hunting of course, because that requires spears, which is another useless discovery. I'm against advancing the human race and want nothing to change. Who cares if exploring this kind of technology helps us understand cellular biology and contributes to a cure for cancer? I refuse to think about the benefits of such a useless technology! Why think when I can just criticize?!

      January 19, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • lee s

      if you knew anything you would know that neadrethals had a larger brain capacity than humans and were very much like us and we even mated with them. Humans just out competed them when the earth warmed up and humans spread and adapted to the new climate changes where as the neandrethal, didnt.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • RollingEyes

      Looks like someone didn't evolve enough to get the humor gene...

      January 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      Lee S: Either we AND Neanderthals are both humans or our ancestors who mated with them were guilty of beastiality. Which is it?

      January 20, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. sh3llz

    yay.. a mammoth.... while disease still plagues us all..... yay.......................... a mammoth...... :-/

    January 19, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Wow, pretty fuzzy thinking there. So money spent on animal research means less on medical research in your world?

      January 19, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip Seyfi

    Am I the only one who read almost the same exact story some 3 years ago?

    January 19, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Arci

      Lisa, that is just hilarious and gegorous and so much fun! I can't believe your planning AMAZING! It sounds like a fantastic holiday and I can't wait to see your photos when you return. We are taking a California road trip in January, so I will be very keen to see your pics and read how it all went. Have fun! Angie

      August 9, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Phil, Ohio


    January 19, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Willie12345

    A buck says it will look just like Joy Behar.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      Y'know, Joy Behar has really made something of herself and look at you, Willie: still in junior high school.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Boonee

      I, personally, thought that was hilarious. Kudos! I love jokes!

      January 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DePop4B

    It's good to know we're going to tax the world's ecology even further by introducting yet ANOTHER species, all for our entertainment. Because, the only reason you (humanity) exists, is to be entertained.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      That's not why we're here? Please do explain the meaning of life....

      January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeavyLoads

      Feel free to kill yourself to make room for the mammoth.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brian

    First the bear markets in stocks and real estate, now my fossilized mammoth tusk/femur collection is going to plunge too.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. scott,pa

    Mammoth, the other red meat!

    January 19, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
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