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Scientists Want To Bring Back The Wooly Mammoth

It’s not Jurassic Park, but it’s close:

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.

(…)

“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.”

I am reminded of a quote from Jurassic Park:

Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Indeed

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Alex Knapp says:

    In real life, velociraptors were about the size of chickens, so I’m not sure if Jurassic Park is a particularly useful guide to thinking about this area of biology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Are the merchandising rights still available?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Alex:

    Well, duh, if they’d been bigger they might have killed Adam and Eve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    Michael,

    Hopefully John Varley has them locked up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. Michael says:

    In real life, velociraptors were about the size of chickens, so I’m not sure if Jurassic Park is a particularly useful guide to thinking about this area of biology.

    Just because Crichton didn’t know the difference between a velociraptor and a utahraptor, doesn’t mean they aren’t godless killing machines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. Gustopher says:

    If they could make Wooly Mammoths the size of chickens, they would be awesome pets. Not so mammoth, but awesome.

    It would also be nice if they laid eggs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. john personna says:

    It would only be a pseudo mammoth – but one step closer to live action flinstones

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  8. mantis says:

    Well, duh, if they’d been bigger they might have killed Adam and Eve.

    Win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. Brett says:

    Why not bring it back? it’s not like they’re breeding a population of the creatures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. sam says:

    “Why not bring it back? it’s not like they’re breeding a population of the creatures.”

    “See, all we have to do is insert this sequence into that fungus’s DNA, and we’ll have an infinite supply of fungoil.” “Uh, well, what if, you know, uh, something goes wrong?” “Like what?” “Well, suppose the sequence causes the fungus to palininate?” “Palininate?” “Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of that. If we’re not careful, the stuff could run amuck and show up all over the place whimpering it was a victim of, hell, just about anything. Well, we’ll have to tighten up the protocol. No TV cameras, no microphones, no Fox News reporters within 5 miles of the lab, access to Facebook and Twitter canceled for all personnel. Palinination cannot take place under those conditions.”

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  11. tom p says:

    “Palinination”

    Sam, you have my vote for word of the year….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. Neil Hudelson says:

    I dont care what the consequences of this are. I want a GD Wooly Mammoth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. jfoobar says:

    An army that rode into battle on the backs of wooly mammoths could not be defeated! Just sayin’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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