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. AM

    Cloning an extinct species actually sounds awesome, far beyond the whole omg its a mammoth thing.

    I'm sure, we will preserve a few cells of any species that is dying out, so that we can revive them at our leisure in the future. So no matter what the politics in africa are, or how rapidly we are destroying this or that habitat, we will be able to bring back any species.

    January 21, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cart McMahon

    That'll do pig, That'll do....

    January 21, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Elizabeth

    Remember the rabbits in Australia... I'm just saying.....
    It's not smart to mess with Mother Nature.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hiram

    when will we stop. Why don't we just leave creation to the creator.

    January 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MRC

    This is the saddest thing I've ever heard - it will be the loneliest creature on the planet. Cruel to create it just for our own curiosity. And I really don't think cloning one is going to tell you why they became extinct. Climate change and overhunting don't show up in your DNA.

    January 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zee

      I find it quite interesting how you and other posters have mentioned that the cloned mammoth would be the loneliest little thing. Are people not remembering that it will be around other elephants and will most likely bond to its mother as well as have no fear of humans (because scientists will be studying it for years to come)? It isn't like it will be roaming some frigid plains or the African deserts all by itself.

      January 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carolyn

    But maybe it should be left with our Creator and mother nature.........???? I am curious....but who knows what confusion and pandemonium might come after this.............../-:

    January 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. monty

    Kool Man,,,,I hope it grows into a Monster and eats its owner,,,,,,YEEEEEEEEEE

    January 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. monty

    GOOOOOO Greenbay

    January 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jimmy johnson

    Hey, cool, awesome, how about we do something relavent like stop the extinction the 150 to 250 species per day that is happening now as a direct result of industrial civilization. That would be a way better idea. All of you are insane. "Hey if stuff goes extinct, we can just clone it! Then when it goes extinct again because it has no habitat because it was bulldozed and strip mined we can clone it again! And again and again, because we are insane!" The mammoths' extinction was natural, a victim of unstoppable catastrophe, but the extinctions today are a direct result of industrialism, consumerism and capitalism. That is insane, to drive hundreds of species extinct for money is insane. If you are an investment banker, or manufacturer or logger or miner, please go kill yourself so the rest of us can live on a healthy world. I'd rather have clean water and air than a functioning economy.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Boonee

      Mmm... extinction of species also happened thousands and millions of years ago too. And humans weren't around at that time... : / just so you know...

      January 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sold Cober

      At the rate we're going, we'll probably be the ones creating an unstoppable catastrophe.

      January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David Pirtle

    The comments on this board are ridiculous. They remind me so much of comments made 100 years ago when people looked at pure research into atomic particles as at best a waste of money and at worst "science gone mad". That research only gave us the modern world, of course, including the computers you're all using. The same thing was said about all those 'vanity projects' where men spent fortunes trying to build horseless carriages and flying machines. As if a man would ever need to go more than 20 miles an hour. Just madness. The point of research like this is to see what we can accomplish. Its to see how far we can push the scientific envelope. The benefits of this research could be profound, and in ways that are as impossible for us to imagine today as it was for men 100 years ago to imagine the microchip might be a benefit of work on the electron. This is what scientists do, and its given us the world in which we live. If you don't like it, then I'm sure there are still a few caves in africa where you can go hide and write your complaints more un-ironically upon the wall.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boonee

      David Pirtle is my hero!

      January 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Potis

      I totally agree with David. Finally I read a logical voice.

      February 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. phil

    Wait until all the nutjobs who insist that God created everything a few thousand years ago see this bad boy roaming the countryside.......

    Science: It's what's for dinner.

    January 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrHanson

      Um ya, as a Chritian I deny that mammoths ever existed. *sigh* What an idiotic comment.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Le'Chell

    Those things are huge as hell maybe the scientists should think twice because some things aren't mean't too be resurected from the after life. We all have different opinions on this but the people who always be like oh it will be fine let them do it be the first one's saying oh i told them not to do it especially when something goes wrong. So i personally don't think there safe!

    January 25, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Face

      Not sure if you're implying that animals have "souls"?
      That the mammoth is bigger than an African Elephant already?
      Or that it it will go on a rampage more destructive than circus elephants have already?

      Nice try though 🙂

      February 10, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kizzy Starlight

    It's a cool Idea but why don't we worry about providing safe drinking water to all especially in Africa first? That money could clean all off Africa's drinking water for all tribes/communities

    January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Some Guy

      Umm no.. we dont need even more people living past 30.. who's gona pay thier retirement?

      January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. McFunkerton

    The Flintstones were a bunch of fatties living off bronco burgers and mammoth meat, why do we need this research?

    January 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    This gives me hope that I can finnaly get a pet griffin.

    All I need is a team of scientists, a lion and a willing eagle

    Oh yes, and six years plus a billion dollars.

    January 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • lauren


      January 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
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