Mammoth could be cloning milestone

Colossal cloning

A few in-vitro fertilization experts in Japan hope to clone a baby mammoth within the next six years by inserting DNA extracted from a mammoth carcass into the egg cells of an African elephant, according to the Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The team of researchers led by Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, is developing a technique that will allow them to extract nuclei from elephant cells and insert mammoth nuclei without damaging them. They hope to do this by expanding on the research of Japanese scientist Teruhiko Wakayama, who cloned a mouse from cells that had been frozen for 16 years in 2008.

If a cloned embryo is created and implanted in an elephant womb, scientists will have to decide whether and how they want to breed the mammoth, as well as whether they will display it to the public.