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. weasel

    I for one would like to see this happen. I guess I am more curious than not.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Daniel

    Come on people, there is room for everybody, all, old, extinct. We just need to open up a little bit and live without fear....Lets create a hypothetical scenario...Man goes to Mars...we find some source of living creature frozen in the ice...wouldn't you like our scientist to be able to bring that alien back to life. On the other hand what if we all were extincted at some point and some alien race came to earth and brought us back to life...possibilities are endless, don't fight what happens, use it to your advantage 🙂

    January 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    I think they should implant the eggs in Sarah Palin since she is also a throwback to the neanderthal age.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      She'd eventually burst with pride!

      January 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. snott

    why do we need to do this ? didn't these people see Jurassic park?

    January 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      That's why they are doing it. Science loves to follow science fiction 🙂

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

      Well, when they start cloning the Sabre-Toothed Tigers, then I might start to worry...!

      January 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      For cryin' out loud! Get your epoch correct, will you? It's NOT Jurassic, it's Pleistocene! It's even in the header to the story, for pete's sake! I for one, will be waiting along side that gentleman in his 70's! I, too, want to live long enough to see a Wooly Mammoth come to live, or some variant of it. And regarding bringing back dinosaurs, if any of you know about Jack Horner and Mary Higby Schweitzer, viable DNA was retrieved from a T-Rex leg bone. Horner has written a book, positing that you can use a chicken's egg to be the host for a T-Rex; his book is "How to build a dinosaur: Extinction doesn't have to be forever." I want to see a mammoth and a Dino-Chicken, as Horner calls them.

      January 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Hairycarey

    This will be a sensation worldwide. I'll start looking into manufacturing cuddly baby Mammoths and their Mama-Mammoths.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Good call!

      January 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rachael

    I am SO riding a mammoth to work.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chefbda

    I wonder what they will tast like?

    January 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I'm guessing pretty good seeing as how man hunted them to extinction they say! Then again they could have just been after the massive rugs.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vegas01

    It never ceases to amaze me how the same folks that promote "survival of the fittest" theories are constantly trying to resurrect the "less fit." If Darwin was right, why go after the inferior species?

    January 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @vegas01, just because species died out, was replace, or evolved due to conditions tens of thousands of years ago doesn't mean it's inferior. Nor does "survival of the fittest" mean that man is superior to other species.

      January 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      Survival of the fittest isn't the controller for species anymore. Human population and destruction are.

      January 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • KiraOsteo

      Nor did Darwin say "survival of the fittest". That's Herbert Spencer, a social scientist and proponent of eugenics (ick). Darwinism is not about producing the "best" species, but rather the ones with characteristics best suited to their environment. Sometimes a trait isn't useful at the time, but could be extremely beneficial to us now, so why should we not keep a seed bank or a DNA bank to be able to tap the extreme potential of nature when we most need it?

      January 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie Treehorn

      @Vegas01: So, you really think that "survival of the fittest" is a crazy theory? Are you honestly going to tell me that you think that less fit creatures survive and reproduce at an equal rate as those that are more fit?

      January 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Because the fittest are still here?

      January 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sweet!

    I'll have an order of Mammoth ribs, like the ones Fred Flintstone always orders.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Czarina

      Congrats...that was funny!

      January 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funny

      But then we'd have to go back to foot powered cars. My feet are too old to handle rush hour traffic.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Vegas01 ... It would depend on why they went extinct really. A meteorite hitting earth for example is kind of outside the concept of darwinism 😉

    January 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BKS

    One slight mistake in the Genom you get KING KONG watch New Yorkers :))

    January 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Funkymonkey1

    The only reason the poor mamoth is extinct is because they wouldn't let him on the Ark. Why, you may ask, did they not let him on the Ark? I'll tell you why. Because he was brown, that's why. Yeah, I went there. Oh, there was plenty of room for the white elephant and his tiny little trunk, but no room for the brown mamoth. They told him he could swim alongside. Poor guy kept up for 20 days and 20 nights before his legs just up and gave out.

    Just another sign of the man keeping the us down if you ask me.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • That's Not Very PC

      Noah tried to let him in but he refused to go to the back of the Ark.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    It is really cool and who knows, next it maybe a brontosaurus.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Haltom

      There's no such thing as a brontosaurus.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funny

      Of course not Jerome, they're extinct. Keep up.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jackie Treehorn

    Maybe they should work their way up to this by cloning something that's been dead for, say, 100 years, before they go straight to 10,000.

    Also...this may be off topic, but Kinki University? How do I get in?

    January 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. matt

    OH man, I can't wait. That's gonna be so dope.

    Somebody's bound to say, "Run you fools!" Just like Gandolf in Lord of the Rings.

    January 17, 2011 at 2:59 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