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Woolly Mammoth  (Source:
A researcher from Japan plans to use a new cloning technique to make this happen

If you thought "Jurassic Park" and the large, reconstructed skeletons seen in museums were the closest we'd ever come to seeing extinct creatures come to life, you might want to think again.  

Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan, is looking to resurrect the woolly mammoth now that a new cloning technique can make it possible. Not only is it possible, but the woolly mammoth could also be reborn as soon as four years from now.  

The woolly mammoth, which is an extinct species of mammoth that died out 5,000 years ago, has been difficult to clone up until now because nuclei in cells found in the muscle tissue and skin of woolly mammoth's located in the Siberian permafrost were severely damaged by the cold. Many attempts in the 1990's failed because of this. 

In 2008, Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology developed a cloning technique that allowed him to use the cells of a mouse that was frozen for 16 years to clone a new mouse. This technique has paved the way for new clone-related opportunities, and has inspired Iritani to resurrect the woolly mammoth.  

Iritani plans to use this technique to pinpoint healthy nuclei within mammoth cells in order to extract and use them for cloning.  

"Now that the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," said Iritani. 

To obtain the nuclei, Iritani will travel to Siberia this summer to find samples of mammoth tissue or skin within the permafrost. If he is unable to locate these samples, he plans to ask Russian scientists for samples that they have recovered. 

Once Iritani obtains the nuclei, he will insert it into an African elephant's egg cells. The African elephant will be the surrogate mother of the new mammoth. 

"The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently, but now stands at about 30 percent," said Iritani. "I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years."

Iritani said the process would take at least four years because it will be about two years before the elephant can be impregnated, and then a 600-day gestation period is needed. 

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Oh god no!
By LordSojar on 1/15/2011 8:06:40 PM , Rating: 3
The can open doors! SHOOOOT HERRRRR!! SHOOT HER!!

But really... this is creepy but interesting. Just please... don't clone dinosaurs... *prays they don't find dinosaur genetic material*

RE: Oh god no!
By chromal on 1/15/2011 8:13:42 PM , Rating: 5
Just please... don't clone dinosaurs... *prays they don't find dinosaur genetic material*

"T. Rex Soft Tissue Found Preserved"

I'm pretty sure the DNA was lost/damaged beyond any hope of cloning, but who know's what else is waiting to be found, improbably preserved...

RE: Oh god no!
By chromal on 1/15/2011 8:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, yes, here we go. The first story was 2005. But, later, in 2010:

"Dinosaur DNA rebuilt from ancient eggs"

RE: Oh god no!
By vol7ron on 1/15/2011 10:36:45 PM , Rating: 5
We might be able to control land creatures, but don't clone the sea-dwelling or the flying dinosaurs.

When they do get the T-Rex-periment going, I'm going to get an RPG

RE: Oh god no!
By bug77 on 1/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Oh god no!
By Mitch101 on 1/16/2011 2:36:48 PM , Rating: 3
I want a Megalodon!

I think this image says it all

Fear of swimming in the ocean replaced by fear of boating in the ocean.

RE: Oh god no!
By zmatt on 1/16/2011 3:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
bad idea. then the world will become a B monster movie.

RE: Oh god no!
By dgingeri on 1/17/2011 11:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
Don't worry, they wouldn't survive. The atmosphere was very different back in the days of the dinosaurs. the air pressure was almost twice what it is today, CO2 levels were much, much higher, and O2 levels were higher. Dinosaurs couldn't survive our atmosphere.

RE: Oh god no!
RE: Oh god no!
By sleepeeg3 on 1/16/2011 3:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
FWIW, I am no fundy, but that link summarizes the findings of that T-Rex "tissue" sample. Here is another one that goes into some detail on what they found:
There were a lot of assumptions on this one. IIRC, there was even a Discovery documentary on it.

RE: Oh god no!
By Shining Arcanine on 1/16/2011 12:24:36 AM , Rating: 5
That is why they use frog DNA to fill-in the gaps.

RE: Oh god no!
By quiksilvr on 1/16/2011 2:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
You might as well use plant DNA and probably will get the same results. Nothing. Because the strands are so degraded beyond repair that you won't get anything close to the real thing.

RE: Oh god no!
By Belard on 1/16/2011 6:26:59 AM , Rating: 3
There is another problem with cloning a real dino...

The oxygen levels on earth is different than what it was 30~100 million years ago. There was much more oxygen, which allowed for bigger animals.

RE: Oh god no!
By imaheadcase on 1/16/2011 9:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
That is debatable. Lots of large creatures around now that still lived long ago.

The main reason, according to who you ask, is simply was more food around then combined with the heat. Heat burns energy faster, making for hungry animals.

RE: Oh god no!
By Belard on 1/16/2011 6:13:55 AM , Rating: 4
No... we DO want to clone dinos...

For the meat! Imagine that... T.Rex steak!

RE: Oh god no!
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2011 8:01:58 AM , Rating: 4
You successfully craft 1 Dragon Steak.

RE: Oh god no!
By amagriva on 1/16/2011 9:47:21 AM , Rating: 2
The good about dragon steak is that (if you ask politely) the dragon can cook itself...Swooosh! Ding! It's ready come to eat me!

RE: Oh god no!
By Source9 on 1/16/2011 9:59:32 PM , Rating: 2
Genius !

RE: Oh god no!
By homernoy on 1/16/2011 1:47:13 PM , Rating: 5
T Rex steaks? Man, I want a nice juicy Brontosaurus burger. Yabba Dabba Doo.

RE: Oh god no!
By Xonoahbin on 1/17/11, Rating: 0
RE: Oh god no!
By ARoyalF on 1/16/2011 5:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's all gonna taste like chicken but more of it. On second thought, what a splendid idea!

RE: Oh god no!
By mindless1 on 1/16/2011 11:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
That was my initial impression but perhaps not since T-Rex is a meat eater.

RE: Oh god no!
By priusone on 1/17/2011 6:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
T-Rex was a scavanger. Just get small sized ones and feed all the road kill to them.

RE: Oh god no!
By JediJeb on 1/17/2011 8:59:23 PM , Rating: 4
KFD- its finger lickin good Dino :)

RE: Oh god no!
By superPC on 1/16/2011 11:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
it makes more sense to clone a tazmanian tiger IMHO. i can't imagine any habitat today that's suitable for mammoth. and what if it got loose?

RE: Oh god no!
By EricMartello on 1/16/2011 7:43:39 PM , Rating: 5
Well, we already know what happens if a giant creature gets loose in Japan... "Ohno!!! Run for your rives!!1"

RE: Oh god no!
By geekman1024 on 1/16/2011 9:35:23 PM , Rating: 4
don't worry, Ultraman lives in Japan.

RE: Oh god no!
By Source9 on 1/16/2011 10:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
[Pulls out beta capsule] and yells "switch"

RE: Oh god no!
By Meinolf on 1/18/2011 9:33:00 AM , Rating: 1
Because Japan has so much room for a mammoth to mass produce. How about they clone Gas to solve the gas price issue :-)

By blzd on 1/15/2011 10:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
What about more recently extinct animals such as the Dodo? If they could do this for tissue samples 5000 years old then anything newer then that should be a cake walk. Maybe even an end to extinction as we know it.

RE: Extinction
By Camikazi on 1/15/2011 11:20:04 PM , Rating: 4
You know extinction is kind of needed right? If no species go extinct and all lived together then there would not be enough land and food for all. Species go extinct cause they can't compete or can't adapt fast enough. Even the ones that go extinct cause of us, it's the same they could not adapt. Certain animals could adapt to the rapid overtaking of the earth that the humans went through and are doing well, others not so much, extinction happens and is needed.

RE: Extinction
By Darkefire on 1/16/2011 2:53:32 AM , Rating: 3
Humans did kind of throw a monkey wrench into the normal course of events, though. We've developed so rapidly and so dynamically that we can go to any square inch of land on this planet, bring just about whatever we want along for the ride and frequently kill things just for the hell of it. The only species we can't eradicate either by choice or accidentally are the ones that reproduce at an extraordinary rate (rabbits, insects, etc.), which can skew an ecosystem far enough out of whack that it no longer becomes self-sustaining. I'm not saying this is cause for bringing back extinct species, just that using the "natural selection" excuse for why you hunted said species to that point isn't a particularly valid one.

RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/16/2011 6:31:38 AM , Rating: 4
"I'm not saying this is cause for bringing back extinct species, just that using the "natural selection" excuse for why you hunted said species to that point isn't a particularly valid one."

Well as we are part of nature then it is natural selection.

RE: Extinction
By mindless1 on 1/16/2011 11:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, natural selection is a human construct that places us outside the definition of nature, otherwise "nature" would mean "everything", would undermine the meaning of the word entirely.

RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/17/2011 4:33:15 AM , Rating: 2
What do you mean by undermined?

I think people have to realise that we are as big part of nature as any other animal but for some reason just because we think we are special and we remove ourselves.

RE: Extinction
By Murst on 1/18/2011 3:56:16 PM , Rating: 3
Just because humans are part of nature, it doesn't mean that anything we do or don't do can be considered natural selection. If we decide to use up our nukes tomorrow and kill everything bigger than 1cm in size, it isn't natural selection.

Natural selection is more about statistics & trends than single events caused by any organism.

RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/17/2011 2:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
Well as we are part of nature then it is natural selection.

By that definition, war is just natural selection too.

There are people who argue that way, but I find it quite disturbing. It takes morality out of the picture and reverts us back to 'might is right'.

RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/17/2011 4:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
you may not like it but war is natural selection.

The problem with morals is they are not absolute and as some people seem it morals permissible to do harm to prevent harm then we may be "quite disturbing animals".

RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/18/2011 1:35:45 AM , Rating: 2
you may not like it but war is natural selection.

It is not.

No variation of genes is gonna affect anybody survivability during a napalm attack.

War is not natural selection like the astroid that is said to have exterminated the dinosaurs wasn't natural selection.

If I shot you in the face I could just pretend "might is right", but as a human being I am capable to reflect on my actions in the context of morality.

RE: Extinction
By Camikazi on 1/16/2011 1:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
Actually natural selection does work since last I checked, destructive as we are, we are still part of nature. We might be a plague on this planet but we are still part of nature.

RE: Extinction
By Grabo on 1/16/2011 5:36:24 PM , Rating: 3
Even if most scientists agreed that every species we cause to go extinct is a part of natural selection, which I'm not so sure is the case(but please link somewhere convincing if you feel like it), we are so radically different from other animals on this planet that just saying "it's natural selection" is kind of one-dimensional.

We have rational thought, we have a choice, we have an imagination. We have powers no other animal here has, and with that comes responsibility.

As for the case of bringing back extinct species - why not? If us making other species go extinct at a fairly rapid pace is indeed natural selection then us bringing back things long dead is also.

Not to mention the idea appeals a lot to the 'let's tinker with this and see what we can do'-sense.

RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/17/2011 3:02:39 AM , Rating: 3
We are not part of nature anymore.

When we started to consciously take command over (parts of) it, we transcended it and its laws.

We are no longer subject to any threat from the animal kingdom (as a species) and since we've been growing food ourselves, there's no population control at all.

We exterminated a population of American Bisons from well over 100 million to basically nothing in a hundred years. There was never any chance for them to adapt or avoid that.

Without a conscious effort based on the recognition of that, the Whales would have suffered the exact same fate.

Our impact on this planet has got nothing to do with 'natural' anymore.

RE: Extinction
By bah12 on 1/17/2011 12:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
When we started to consciously take command over (parts of) it, we transcended it and its laws.
So the monkey that can break open a nut with a rock is it no longer part of nature?
We are no longer subject to any threat from the animal kingdom (as a species) and since we've been growing food ourselves, there's no population control at all.
Of course we are, maybe not from lions and tigers and bears (oh my), but certainly the microbial kingdom is evolving to keep up and possibly threaten us like no other aspect of nature.

We certainly are a very odd evolutionary animal no doubt, but the fact is some species are thriving as a result of us even though we'd like them gone. Think of the feral pig issues in the US. They are a direct result of us, but still out of our immediate control. They have adapted and thrive in an environment we've created. Sure a wingless bird on an island doesn't do too well when we drop a few cats off, but there are examples on the other side of the coin that thrive as a direct result of us.

Is it pure natural are we NOT part of, as is always the case, is most likely in the middle.

RE: Extinction
By Strunf on 1/17/2011 7:35:14 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think there are that many species that could survive if we decided to bring every single one down.

Earth would be pretty boring if there would be only us... and insects.

RE: Extinction
By Skywalker123 on 1/17/2011 6:19:37 PM , Rating: 1
Its hard for animals to adapt to a bullet in the head.

RE: Extinction
By bug77 on 1/16/2011 9:59:50 AM , Rating: 3
What about more recently extinct animals such as the Dodo?

Now that would be dangerous.
Just think a few thousand years in the future. People would be reading all those "went the way of the Dodo" reference and they would have dodos all around them. Just imagine the confusion. And the probable misinterpretations.

RE: Extinction
By mac2j on 1/16/2011 5:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually this is starting to happen - there is a project on to clone some recently extinct species of mountain goat or something in Spain.

By chagrinnin on 1/15/2011 10:35:01 PM , Rating: 3
...Woolly Burgers! :P~

RE: Mmmmm...
By vol7ron on 1/15/2011 10:37:18 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Mmmmm...
By geekman1024 on 1/16/2011 9:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'm lovin' it!

RE: Mmmmm...
By surt on 1/15/2011 11:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
They'll cost at least a thousand dollars a piece for the first few decades.

RE: Mmmmm...
By rodrigu3 on 1/16/2011 1:00:37 AM , Rating: 3
Let's bring 'em back so we can make them extinct again!

RE: Mmmmm...
By jeff834 on 1/17/2011 8:09:26 AM , Rating: 4
Wooly mammoth...beast so nice we wiped it out twice?

Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By jabber on 1/16/2011 8:48:09 AM , Rating: 2
What leads me to believe this could be a load of bunk for some time to come is that no one has 'brought back' an easier target.

No one has cloned a recently extinct animal that good clean DNA samples would be available of. If I was investing millions in this kind of research I'd be saying ok prove it by cloning back a "insert recently extinct animal with good lab specimens here".

If they could do that then I'd say ok go back a bit further...maybe a dodo or a Tasmanian Tiger.


I think this is still some way off. Not impossible but maybe not in my lifetime.

RE: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By melgross on 1/16/2011 1:42:13 PM , Rating: 5
Your reasoning seems correct on the surface, but it really isn't. They've been cloning animals for a while now. It doesn't really matter if it is extinct or not, it's the process that matters. If they can get enough viable material to work with, they can do it. Modern sequencing can insure that they get millions of copies of the genetic material, so they will have plenty. The only question will be to see if they have everything they need, or rather as I brought up in an earlier post, they're just using some of the material, and not getting an actual clone.

RE: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By jabber on 1/16/2011 6:24:45 PM , Rating: 3
Well this is it they can do sheep, recently extincts with full blood samples and such like till they are blue in the face but what I'm getting at is the intermediate steps between cloning current animals and going for the big one...dinosaurs.

Lets see some results from animals that have actual bone skeletons (with supposedly more viable DNA samples) sitting in labs and museums that died out in the past couple of hundred years.

If they could do that then I'd invest.

Bring back a dodo and I wouldnt consider dinosaur cloning a total scam. But they havent and thats the issue. Surely the novelty of the dodo would be newsworthy and worth the investment to prove the feasability? But no...nothing.

It seems its only Mammoths or T-Rex. Scam.

RE: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By melgross on 1/16/2011 7:08:47 PM , Rating: 3
The difference with mammoths is that they have entire animals frozen in ice. Dried bone samples may not have complete enough samples. If it's been exposed to air, it may be eaten by bacteria. Heat or moisture could have "cooked" it. There are many things that happen to more recent specimens. The bones could have been put into chemicals to destroy the living material so the bones don't rot.

So far, mammoths are one of the best bets. In addition, there is the publicity value. Really, if they want to encourage interest for funding, how many people would really care about the Dodo, and how many would care about the mammoth?

They've been finding more dinosaur DNA than thought possible. But I'm not sure if they will ever get what they need for a true clone.

By jabber on 1/17/2011 6:35:28 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but I reckon we wont see it in our lifetimes.

Shame though.

By GulWestfale on 1/15/2011 8:12:45 PM , Rating: 5
Woolly Mammoth Could Walk the Earth Again in 4 Years

did they clone rosie o'donnell?

RE: whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
By Falacer on 1/15/2011 11:47:06 PM , Rating: 2

RE: whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
By METALMORPHASIS on 1/17/2011 12:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nope,only Oprah

RE: whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
By ZachDontScare on 1/17/2011 2:53:12 PM , Rating: 2

By Belard on 1/15/2011 8:32:39 PM , Rating: 1
They died out 5000 years ago because the Earth climate has changed.

Interesting I guess... we'll see.

Buts its dinosaurs that we really wanna see!

RE: Why?
By melgross on 1/16/2011 1:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
One of the most important reasons why large mammals died out long ago was because primitive people killed and ate them. Climate played a much smaller role. The biggest role climate played was to allow people to spread around the globe where these animals had little or no predators.

RE: Why?
By ZachDontScare on 1/17/2011 2:55:13 PM , Rating: 3
One of the most important reasons why large mammals died out long ago was because primitive people killed and ate them.

Which tells me they are quite tasty, and makes me want to see them come back that much more!

What percentage?
By marsbound2024 on 1/16/2011 9:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
What percentage will that Woolly Mammoth be elephant and mammoth? When will we see a 100% Woolly Mammoth?

RE: What percentage?
By melgross on 1/16/2011 1:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
This is the big question that the article doesn't address. I haven't checked the links to see if there's more detail, but unless there is, there's a problem with this idea.

We aren't just made up of DNA from the cell's nucleous. We're also made up of DNA from the mitochondria. I didn't see a mention of that. If they don't have that as well, then it will be some sort of hybrid. Even if they do have that, there could still be developmental problems given that an elephant, no matter how close to the species they want to clone it is, will have a difference in the nutrient balance to the embryo, resulting in the possibility of an incorrect developmental cycle in the womb. It may not amount to much, but it could effect expression of some mammoth genes.

This is very complex, and an eager researcher, no matter how smart, can get caught up in what they can do, rather than the details of the results. I used to see this problem in applications for research grants when I was at the American Museum of Natural History here in NYC. Sometimes I needed to send it back for a re-write.

RE: What percentage?
By DNAgent on 1/16/2011 10:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
Beyond the presence of mitochondrial DNA is the question of methylation and other regulatory mechanisms that are vital to proper function. Even if sufficiently intact (i.e. not fragmented) DNA is obtained, the methylation/ethylation of the recovered mammoth material may be altered so that the proper genes will not be active/inactive to facilitate gestation.

Not to mention the plethora of chaperone proteins, etc. that may be missing or damaged.

I want one!
By Jason H on 1/16/2011 3:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
The mammoth in the photo is a life-size model in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC. As a young child, I would sit and stare at it, transfixed, for hours.

RE: I want one!
By Camikazi on 1/17/2011 8:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
You must remember one thing, if you stand under and stare transfixed at a real mammoth, it will step on you...

By Howard on 1/16/2011 11:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
Damn things died for a reason. Just leave them be.

RE: Why?
By jeff834 on 1/17/2011 8:17:51 AM , Rating: 2
That reason most likely being us. If we can kill it why can't we bring it back?

Found on Craigslist Jan 2040:
By bfrazier on 1/16/2011 7:41:53 PM , Rating: 3
Wanted: Your healthy Bengal Tiger to be surrogate, impregnated with my Sabre Tooth Tiger DNA ... price negotiable.

This is Great!
By sorry dog on 1/16/2011 1:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe I won't have to see polar bears in car commercials anymore.

Better yet... for every Hummer sold you have to pay a cloning tax to have a bear made... to shut the enviro nazis up.

By Farfignewton on 1/16/2011 7:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
The long and short of it is they're talking about recreating a herd of bums...

History repeats itself...
By bfrazier on 1/16/2011 7:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
“Ooh, aah. that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running, and screaming.”

Need Genetic Diversity
By GruntboyX on 1/17/2011 12:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
This would be a great technical achievement. However, unless there is multiple samples frozen in the siberian permafrost it will not bring the species back. It will simply give us a brief living glimpse. They would need multiple clones to give some level of genetic diversity to make a breeding population.

Could be a great technique to preserve endangered species though.

wow that would be neat
By rmclean816 on 1/17/2011 12:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
bet nobody thought of that one
"apologizes to all the douches that have something to say"

They're dead for a reason.
By Icopoli on 1/16/2011 7:06:13 AM , Rating: 1
Leave them be.

NOTHING good would come of this.

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