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. oneshot

    I have been dreaming for years about this! Still I want them to genetically engineer the mammoth to be miniature. Then we can have 1 foot tall mammoths running around our houses! Go mini-mammoths!

    January 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Concerned

    Is this type of research ethical? What is it we hope to learn from a cloned mammoth that we don't already know or really need to find out? It may even be cruel and unusual to reintroduce an animal into an ecosystem that probably lacks the vegetation it will innately want to eat and the social support network it will expect. Engaging in this type of research because we can or because it sounds "cool" is probably inappropriate and immature. I'm surprised and disappointed that the scientific community hasn't reflected more on this issue and spoken out more about the ethical and moral implications.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. cleaning lady

    You know there is a reason these beasts are extinct.

    January 26, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. groundhogj

    Our politicians have already created a "mammoth", it's called the NATIONAL DEBT!

    January 26, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. John


    January 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe Bufoaqw

    This is garbage. These aren't scientists, they are little boys who got a hold of cloning technology and now want to play with species for fun. There is no scientific merit or purpose to this. They aren't going to answer any questions about why they went extinct. This is as bad as the glow in the dark monkeys. Some of these guys have no ethics. Science should be about seeking the truth with empirical study, not playing god with long extinct species and creating chimeras.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alunsworth

      Better said than my post, Joe.

      January 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. asword82

    SIGN OF JONAH – MATTHEW 12: 38-45, LUKE 11:44, MATTHEW 16:1-4, BOOK OF JONAH

    January 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sold Cober

      Revelations 18:3

      January 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • xaocam

      here's a revelation for you, the bible is a load of Hokus Pokus, hahaha

      February 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sold Cober

    I'm happy their not cloning humans. After reading many of the comments, it seems ignorance is bliss to some.

    January 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. D

    Haven't they seen Jurassic Park????!!! Not a good idea to start cloning stuff.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |

    On one side, I can't wait for the grass-fed brontosaurus burgers.
    On the other side, we probably put the wrong bones toghether and the DNA actually belongs to a giant, unstoppable killing machine with a taste for human flesh and can reproduce spontaneously that was luckily decimated by a giant hand-of-God meteor. Wouldn't that be ironic? Hooray for unscrupulous science.

    January 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reid

    would it be possible to clone animals from the bone marrow in their fossils?

    January 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zee

      Reid, that is a very intelligent question! I, too, would like to know if this is possible.

      January 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wally Boyce

    It seems science is progressing again . But can the human race keep up ?

    January 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Right! Maybe the mammoth can help our species figure out how to stop killing our fragile planet.

      January 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Castroby

    99 % people here doesnt have any idea how scientific discoveries have happened.
    People LISTEN 99 % of the scientific discoveries were unintentional(means accidental) eg Penicillin , X rays ...
    Scientific discoveries are result of a curious scientist experimenting what he likes.Who knows by cloning mammoth and in that process they can stumble upon something very useful.

    January 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michelle

    I think it is awesome.. look what we can do, it really is awesome!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jadawin

    Response to the guy who says that AIDS is the easiest disease to avoid and that he s 100% percent confident he l never get it. Try the 20 people+ who got injected with Aids on purpose while visiting their acuponcturist. He injected them the virus really quickly.Aa docotr understood that all those people who got the disease had the same acuponcturist.
    Just to say that in Life you never know and don t judge people.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
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