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."

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Japan • Russia • U.S.
soundoff (1,588 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Dinosaurs are not extinct, you see them everyday, they are birds.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Haltom

      Birds: Belonging to a different species than any dinosaur we've come to discover. So, yes, dinosaurs are extinct.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. publius enigma

    If they were to get some amber with a mosquito in it, then take the dinosaur blood out of the stomache of the mosquito and clone that...
    We could have The Fly part 3 - Brundle-mosquitasaur

    January 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aarrgghh

      The inclusions in amber no longer contain any usable organic material. It is an empty void in the amber which is coated in carbon left over from the decomposed corpse that gives the illusion of solid material.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gideons thumper

    The earth is 5000 yrs old

    January 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aarrgghh

      funny, we have calendars twice that age.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fran

    In related news, Pterodactyl: the other white meat

    January 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moronic Park

    We shouldn't have to clone a mammoth, we already have one called Ron Jeremy! He's hairy and he's mammoth!

    January 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. UMeat

    And the invisible Stealth Mammoth rose up and trampled the unbelievers under its hairy feet.

    Revelations 7:11

    You were warned!

    January 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bill

    the scientific community shows that it can waste resources just as the politcal community can.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MassiveMarbles

    All of these cloning experiments are being done in hopes to eventually launch the earth species into space and then to cultivate them on distant planets. I wouldn't be surprised if they devise a plan to extract the brains from select humans, place them in cryogenic suspension reinsert them into cloned bodies on other planets.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      I heard Sarah Palin volunteered to be the first to go, but when scientists opened up the skull there was nothing there.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. g

    hey how about cloning a t-rex and sending it to the border? hahahaha

    January 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve Okura

    Fyi, artificial DNA (synthetic DNA) built from scratch has already been created and subsituted into a bacteria cell creating a new form of bacteria as I recollect. This was done by Craig Venter's group in Florida. Now they and others are trying to create life from scratch. If they succeed and I think they eventually will, then what, will people worship them as the new Gods? Google 'synthetic DNA'...learn more about science, esp. those who are brainwashed into too much religion and not enough science.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • nepawoods

      They're still copying the basic plan, and using existing parts. They didn't invent the concept. Also, bacteria are far simpler than eukaryotes (even single celled eukaryotes).

      Plugging synthetic DNA into a bacteria is kind of like writing and installing a new operating system on a computer. Try building the computer from scratch too.

      January 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Will

    How will we be able to reproduce this beast afterwards, there aren't two of them. I think we should name it Pauly.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • djsmps

      How do you know it's a boy? If it's a girl, Pauline is OK.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • willow

      The general method would be to have that cloned mammoth reproduce with a close cousin like the modern elephant. Eventually you will have enough half breeds to breed with each other in a controlled environment, ensuring that those that continue breeding have stronger mammoth traits than elephant. Over a long period of time, the subsequent generations of mammoths will pull stronger mammoth traits than elephant traits.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dalis

      Clones are always female. It's because they're manipulating an egg (female) to make offspring. They can't produce an embryo from just sperm.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawaiikaos

      This has been discussed for quite some time. I remember seeing a science show awhile back and they talked about making a breeding population by cross-breeding them with elephants (they're probably close like dogs and wolves, and would produce fertile offspring), then slowly weeding out the elephant genes over many generations. They would never be pure mammoth, but very close–enough to study their behaviors, diet, etc.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivan

      Hey Will, breeding the Mammoth isn't the reason they are trying this. Think about it Willy. They are A: trying to see if they CAN do it it at all and B: if they succeed they will study the mammoth like never before. Oh and I think his name should be Wooley not Pauly, it's just a little more fitting 🙂

      January 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      If they check out what happened in the first season of "Primeval", they really don't want a Mammoth raising havoc on the I-5 in real life! Besides, some Bible thumper (like that mook from Florida) will start calling for its destruction as an abomination in the eyes of the Lord!

      January 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      um they tried doing this 12 years ago.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Johnson

      Jurrasic Park .. anybody?

      January 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • willow

      As an addendum... as my previous comment (and hawaiikaos' comment) suggests, the method of breeding a formerly extinct species that was "resurrected" via cloning depends on the existence of an already living species that is genetically very similar. Given this, cloning and breeding a dinosaur would be rather difficult, even if you found viable dinosaur DNA.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • JasonB

      @dalis – Clones are not always female. Males can be cloned as well. You can take DNA from somatic cells from almost any part of the mammoth body, DNA from either a male or female, and insert the DNA into a de-nucleated egg of an African elephant. If the embryo was created using male chromosomes, the embryo will be a male.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • james townsend

      We are headed down a slippery slope on this one.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leeloo

      This is a very bad idea.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim jibbily

    wow ! jurassic park comes to life

    January 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EZ

    Thomas! I think you are the only one.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joshua

    i think maybe they should be concerned about wut will happen if they do succeed. Wut if the mammoths biological and environmental needs cant be met in present day. wut if we bring the mammoth back just for him to have a heat stroke and die again...

    January 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      I might have taken your post more seriously if you would not have spell "What" "wut." Learn some basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbarak

      I hope you realize that "wut" isn't the real way to spell "what." And if you do know it and you're spelling it that way for brevity, you're only saving the effort of typing one letter.

      Anyway... cool story.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      Well they're only geniuses, so I'm sure they haven't thought of that.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • You can't breed two identical clones

      "wut" is pretty nice shorthand for leaving brief comments. Get over the grammar, this is a comment not a novella.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdboy722

      And the English majors come out to play. I think it's funny that "Wut" actually sparked a response. You have the right to type anything you want. It's a forum not a research paper.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • kanon

      "english majors"? You mean people with above elementary level English. "What" isn't that hard to type out.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      What ever happened to using proper spelling? Did everyone forget what they were taught in grade school? If you were going to use shorthand, your comment should have read like this, "wut if we bring da mammoth back just 4 him 2 have a heat stroke & die again." The same word shorthanded while you have larger words like "biological" and "environmental" spelled correctly, shows your inability to converse correctly. Either that, or you did it to be noticed for the poor schooling you had.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gage

      I can't believe you people are really concerned with 'wut'. I mean seriously I'm sure he knows how to spell 'What' correctly and would do so in any formal situation. This is a comment on a CNN report not an essay to the President. If you seriously feel the need to take issue with someone's use of the 'wut' then you need to get over yourselves and get a life.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      Veritas, Joshua is obviously a teenager. His brain is not fully developed, nor are all parts of the body connected to the brain.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      LOL at the clown geeks in here. Wut wut wut wut.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ficheye

      People, people. English is an elegant language. More things can be described in the english language than any other. That's why so many countries teach it in school, among other reasons. Spelling the word 'what' as 'wut' is a hip-hop variation. Cool for a second, but when you think about it... we are becoming the worlds well spring of ignorance and idiocy. I, for one, don't want to return to the stone age. You other folks go ahead on. And if you want to hide your ability to spell in a confusing rant about how hip it is to spell things the way you want, go right ahead. You can be stoopid... it's fun.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      Someone is going to clone a woolly mammoth and they're arguing about 'wut'....! 😉

      January 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me in MN

      Did you learn English from LOL cat pictures? On the second "wut" anything you said became invalid. I barely finished my eighth grade English class (the last one I ever passed) and I can write better than you. It's not cool to write like that. It makes you look like an idiot and it's annoying because it's like a baby is talking to us. You're not cute. Grow up!

      January 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Wut, wut, in the do wut, wut with my butt?

      January 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      wut da hell??!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funny

      ficheye – shouldn't there be an apostophe in "worlds well spring of ignorance and idiocy" since in its useage the word "world's" is possessive? U ppl need 2 liten up.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    Cool but kinda scary. Thank GOD it's not a T-Rex!

    January 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corvus1

      Oh, yes, because those bigass pachyderm types aren't dangerous or anything at all. ;p

      January 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      @Corvus1 hey hey the mammoth doesn't appreciate you saying her ass is big...anything goes in the pleistocene era but we're in 2011 here, can't be calling mammoths fat asses anymore – they have feelings too!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aarrgghh

      What if GOD is a T-rex? The horror, the horror.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50