back to article Japan, Russia in plan for elephant to birth CLONE MAMMOTH

Japanese and Russian boffins are planning to impregnate an elephant with a mammoth embryo cloned from viable fossil DNA discovered frozen beneath the icy Siberian tundra, according to reports. AFP reports that a joint team of boffins from Japan and Russia discovered mammoth DNA - which they consider to be in good enough …


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  1. Thomas 18


    Franken-science is the best science.

  2. Mike Tree


    Where will the genetic variation come from? Or do they have DNA from a whole heard of Mammoth?

    1. Ben Holmes

      To be honest Mike, whilst you raise a valid point ( and one that, realistically, dooms the project to inevitable - and probably sad - failure), all I'm thinking right now is OMFG MAMMOTHS!111!!!ELEVENTYONE!!111!!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. IDoNotThinkSo

      Just to see one would be interesting enough. I doubt there will be a re-introduction programme.

      1. Charles Augustus Milverton

        Depends if they taste nice :-)

    4. Just Thinking

      Surely gender variation would be the first problem (if they are actually trying to start a breeding program).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: genetic variation.

      I saw a TV program about this about 10 years ago just afer they found the frozen baby mamoth.

      The program was mainly about how they were going to defrost and examine the remanes.

      They talked about the prospect of cloning then, and suggested that elephant DNA would be sifficianty similar to allow cross breeding, and that with careful breeding they should be able to get to a high percentage Mamoth (my memory is of 90+%).

      1. Fledge


        A hybrid would be known as a mammophant or elemoth (depending which species were mother and father). Just imagine a herd of elemoths roaming - or gliding, on Dumbo-like ears? - across the plains of Siberia... Russia is in with a chance on this program but I think Japan is going to lose out, they don't have the room.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm now developing plans for a REALLY BIG barbeque...

        2. Joe User

          Re: Elemoths!

          "Just imagine a herd of elemoths roaming - or gliding, on Dumbo-like ears? - across the plains of Siberia..."

          The Chinese would declare them to be an ancient aphrodisiac and poach the lot (pun intended).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They are not attempting to cross-breed them...

        They are going to implant fully-formed mammoth embryos into an elephant for gestation.


    6. Michael Souris
      Thumb Down

      Of course...

      ...I've heard of mammoth

      1. Thomas 4


        A team did manage to successfully clone a mammoth but then the scientists got one-shotted by a pissed off giant.

    7. Tim of the Win

      More to the point, why bother?

      Let sleeping Mammoths lie.

    8. King Jack

      Starting from Zero.

      If this works they will have to do a bit of inbreeding, just like pedigree animals. Until there is enough diversity. Or they could just continue cloning like they do will prime steers in the USA.

      I'd love to ride a Mammoth. It's been a dream ever since I saw the Flintstones.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Mike Tree

      Mammoths? I've heard of them. Haven't you?

  3. deadbeef

    Hope they implement the Lysine contingency...

    don't want these things running around in my back garden making a mess.

  4. Michael 36

    Saw the film about this

    Didn't turn out well.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just the one?

    Would be a bit sad to be cloned back from extinction and then be the only mammoth in existence. Would be like Ice Age (2?).

    Also I would fully support the cloning of a sabre toothed squirrel ...

  6. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up


    Yes! Yes!

    Are they accepting requests?

    1. Woolly Mammoth

    2. Dodo

    3. Sabre-toothed tiger

    4. Quagga

    5. Steller's Sea Cow

    6. Giant Ground Sloth

    7. Great Auk

    I could go on...

    1. dotdavid

      Any last requests?

      8. HP TouchPad.

      OK, I admit that wasn't funny.

      1. Thomas 4

        Know what else isn't funny?

        9. Psion palmtops

    2. richard 7

      More requests

      9 - Dire wolf, then let it loose in North America, lets see thos b????ds shoot that sucker.

      1. Michael Shelby
        Thumb Down

        re: dire wolf

        "...lets see thos b????ds shoot that sucker."

        That would just be a challenge to my fellow Americans to buy better guns. I don't want all my neighbors to be so well armed!

        1. S Watts

          okay, Dire Wolves with frikin' lasers on their 'eds.

          1. Thomas 4

            Slightly confused

            Are we talking about the Dire Wolfs from Battletech with dual PPCs and an LRM40 rack?

            Good luck hunting one of those.

      2. c3
        Thumb Down

        I'd think they'd rather enjoy that

        what with assault rifles being sold at Walmart (AFAIK).

      3. ThomH

        @richard 7

        Surely they'd just lob a gooey blob somewhere near it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Of course, they'd pop a "disbelieve" first...

      4. Tasogare

        It is very dark...

        10 - Grue

      5. neil 15

        10. Marilyn Monroe. I'll take two.

    3. C 2

      Actually ...

      The Dodo where tough and not tasty. Plus they were mean.

      Sorry to rain on that parade, have a pint.

    4. c3
      Thumb Down

      For how many of those do you have valid DNA ?

      I guess the chance of finding a frozen Dodo are quite slim.

  7. Archie The Albatross

    What next?

    Sabre-toothed cats? It's all harmless fun until someone gets eaten.

  8. David Dawson

    Technically speaking ...

    Wouldn't this be a chimera rather than a pure clone, given that the egg and mitochondria would be from an elephant?

  9. lawndart



    Mammoth & chips. Serves 40.

    First recreate your mammoth from frozen DNA...

    Could they not profitably do this with the recently deceased Black Rhino? It should certainly be easier.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      it comes in Mammoth Portions

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That would make sense, apart from the fact that this trick (if successful) would bring in a lot more cash. Maybe enough to fund multiple resurections of extinct species.

      Dodo and Chips anyone? The ease of capture and good taste is what done erm in the first time.

  10. TonyHoyle

    "mammoth foetus cloned from viable fossil DNA"

    Really? I thought it was deemed pretty much impossible to get as far as the foetus stage, let alone a full grown mammal.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      I think that's the 'viable' part coming into play there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "a full grown mammal"

      They're planning to denucleate an elephant egg and transplant a mammoth nucleus into it. That's the exact same technique that worked well enough to produce Dolly the sheep.

      On an unrelated point, why is everyone calling it "fossil" DNA? If it's to stand a chance of working at all, it has to be actual real DNA that was preserved by freezing, not the petrified/calcified outline of a place where DNA used to be, which is the usual meaning of "fossil" anything.

  11. Simple Si

    So... long before Mammoth burgers go on sale?

    1. perlcat


      Mammoth Burger.

      It'd be huge in Russia.

  12. Tim Worstal

    And I

    Want the pygmy wolly mammoths that used to roam Malta.

    A mammoth that's shetland pony size.....

    1. Code Monkey


      "Mammoth" (with sarky quote fingers when spoken) surely

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What for?

    3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Sounds neat

      but then Malta is somewhat short on permafrost, last time I looked.

      There were pygmy mammoths on certain Siberian islands as well, maybe that is the better option.

  13. Richard 120


    Tasty, I for one welcome these new and exotic meats that were obviously prized foodstuffs of the time.

    They should bring back the dodo too, that was apparently tasty enough to be made extinct from it's edibility.

    And a thousand years in the future they could bring back Anchovies.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      >They should bring back the dodo too, that was apparently tasty enough to be made extinct from it's edibility.

      ISTR that's a myth as "tasty" is entirely subjective. After having sailed halfway around the world on a diet of salted pork and weevil-ridden biscuits, anything living that's a bit crap at running away qualifies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        they tasted like Chicken....

        they looked like Chiken...

        they were as stupid as Chicken...

        there were no Chicken!

      2. Richard 120

        I'll have a large McDodo(TM) burger meal please.

        But surely there's some multinational corporation with enough money and vision to Trademark an entire species as a foodstuff?

        They could copyright the genome, and sell sterile ones as pets (called Pickwick)

        Think of the possibilities for profit!

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Dubious history

      Fossil remains of the later mammoths show signs of endemic disease -- some scientists feel it's unlikely that human hunting could have made a significant impact on the mammoth population.

      There's also no evidence that people ate significant numbers of dodos either -- there are two or three records of people trying and it was reportedly one of the foulest-tasting greasiest meats thay had encountered. Modern thought is that the dodo was actually killed off by white man's eternal travelling companion: the rat. Rats are now well-known for wiping out ground-nesting bird habitats by eating their eggs, and the dodo was a ground-nesting bird....

    3. ScientologyIsACult


      The dodo was referred to by the Dutch sailors as walgovogel (from memory, yes i am too lazy to google the correct spelling) which translates to disgusting bird, it was actually wiped by introduced animals such as dogs, big cats etc.

  14. JeffyPooh


    I'm fully in favour of this, up until the point where Wolly Mammoths start crapping all over my yard.

  15. Asiren

    Poor mother elephant

    IIRC, mamoths are not insignificantly larger than elephants.

    Which would mean baby mamoths would be significantly larger than baby elephants.

    Which would mean I hope that incubator elephant is given a Caersarian!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but what are they going to call the first one that survives birth.

      how about a naming competition for the first of it kind:

      i propose: Caesar

  16. BadBart

    As opposed to...

    "and then place the resulting embryos in the womb of a FEMALE elephant."

    Have to dust off my biology textbook and look up the likelihood of a male elephant having a womb.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    So, uhh...

    ...if this is successful, will the mammoth immediately be put on the 'endangered species' list? Will poachers immediately thereafter shoot it for its tusks, valued in China as an aphrodisiac? Will the mammoth be airlifted to an appropriate tundra-ish terrain so it can supply a footage reel for one of those Discovery channel shows about some extinct animal?

    Also, will el Reg please STOP USING those caps? I know why they're there, but they STOPPED BEING FUNNY a long time ago, particularly for people who don't READ BRITISH TABLOIDS. THANKS.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offshore Island

    So where can I find a non-offshore island then?

    Coat on ... running like chuff for the door!

    1. Thecowking

      In lakes.

    2. GBE

      Lakes and rivers?

      One presumes that non-offshore islands occur in lakes and rivers.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Lakes and rivers don't have shores? Then what are we supposed to call the edgy bit between the land and the water?!

        1. Old Handle

          Lakes have shores, but rivers have banks. So is island in a river would not be offshore... it would be offbank.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In a lake

      If you try to out-pedant me you will always fail.

    4. eom

      Off shore Island, with food for mammoths

      Yes, let's send the mammoth to Antarctica where it can eat those pesky penguins.

  19. sisk

    Health problems?

    Don't clones typically exhibit a myriad of health problems and die relatively young? I know that Dolly died about the same time as her much older mother/donor/whatever the appropriate term is. Have they ever worked out that problem with cloning or do they still tend towards those kinds of problems? If they haven't gotten that worked out then there's really not much point in bringing back an extinct species like this.

    1. Steven Roper

      Pray that they don't

      ever solve the DNA decrepitude problem with cloning. Because as soon as they do, the feminists will do away with the entire male sex, as they've been wanting to do for the last 30 years...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "Dolly died about the same time as her much older mother/donor/whatever the appropriate term is."

      Well, the problem is two-fold - first, issues with cloning itself, but mainly that the press, the appearances, and the entourage just went to her head. She went to too many parties, started in on the drink and the drugs... near the end she was hitting the nose candy pretty hard, and rumor has it that she was getting sheared three times a week.

      It was inevitable, sad to say - Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Dolly the Sheep. There's only so much your body can handle.

      You may think you're invincible, but eventually, it wool catch up with you.

    3. Franklin

      Depends on the species.

      Some clones (sheep, mice) have had shortened lives; others (like cows) have not. Though to be fair, Dolly the sheep died of a viral infection called Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus, which also killed some of the other sheep at the same research facility, so it's not actually clear that being a clone had anything to do with it.

  20. Lars Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    We need some Neanderthal DNA and a good mother, of course.

    1. FozzyBear

      They already exist

      Look in any redrock town in the south of america, hell, considering some I have met Texas would apply here.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Kind of surprised they didn't start with the dodo.


    Recently extinct.

    Easy to add "McNugget" as a suffix.

    Actually *all* of Ian Fergusion's list sounds delicious (suitably prepared).

    People who've had cat tell me it's quite gamey, like rabbit (rumored to be sold as rabbit in France).

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Jabar-ic Park??

    So the Japanese are going to clone a mammoth in the lab??

    I think I saw this movie before. Thank goodness Godzilla will be around to save Japan in the inevitable climactic monster deathmatch.

  23. Jonski

    Another resurrection request

    10. Haast Eagle. (World's largest raptor ever)

    11. Moa, for the eagle to eat.

    On another note, once this mammoth project runs out of funds and public interest, is it possible for a species to go extinct for a second time?

  24. Local Group

    I wonder.

    I'm afraid this wooly tyke would be an apostate to and shunned by the Religious Right.

    After all, they believe life begins with unenjoyable sex?

  25. Sam 15

    Won't someone think of the Elephant?

    Doesn't she get any say in this?

  26. earl grey

    rabbit tastes like chicken

    i want

    they have found enough frozen mammoths to have some diversity of DNA.

  27. Wombling_Free

    Hang on...

    Won't this result in rampant mammoths multiplying out of control, taking over the whole world because we brought them back without their predators?

    Of course, you could predict all this with..... CHAOS MATHEMATICS!

    But then.... one of the many BOFHs here will solve the crisis, because THIS is UNIX... and... WE KNOW UNIX!

    Yes, that's my coat.... clever girl.

  28. Wombling_Free

    More resurrection requests - (all Australian!)

    12. Thylacine (they look cute, and who doesn't want a vicious stripy marsupial wolf?)

    13. Diprotodon - Giant Wombat - size of small car, you could ride one to work! Environmentally friendly!

    14. Procoptodon Goliah - Giant Kangaroo - 3-4m tall, 230kg. see above, but FASTER!

    15. Wonambi Naracoortensis - 6m long ambush-predator SNAKE! Lets see you get this snake off a plane!

    16. Zaglossus Hacketti - Giant Echidna - sheep sized, if you kept them with sheep you could have a source of wool and knitting needles!

    17. Dromornis Stirtoni - Bloody Giant Emu-thing. Heavier than a Moa. Bigger than Aepyornis. 500kg of Angry Bird. 1 bird would make about 250,000 nuggets.

    18. Varanus Priscus - a TWO tonne, 7m goanna, which would use Komodo Dragons as toothpicks.

    19. Bluff Downs Giant Python - 10m long. Fear it.

    20. Quinkana - 7m long, long legged land-dwelling crocodile that could chase down mammals & birds, probably also small cars.

    21. Meiolania - 2.5m long turtle. So what? It was an EXTREME turtle - horned bill, covered in armoured spikes.

    1. Local Group

      Narcoleptics Beware.

      21. Meiolania - 2.5m long turtle.

      These wily turtles lay in wait for unsuspecting narcoleptics. It's unspeakable what they do when they catch one. I can't go on.

  29. IDoNotThinkSo

    Can we have a Dodo and a Great Auk whilst they are at it? Though I suppose someone would have to find a frozen one, as the DNA will have degraded otherwise.

  30. Identity

    What could possibly go wrong?

    I ask you...

  31. C Wall


    I bet the free range variety will be delicous!

  32. Petrea Mitchell
    Thumb Up

    Pleistocene rewilding, here we come!

    I look forward to the day I can see megatheria wandering the outskirts of my town.

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