I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
How to clone a mammoth? Well, you can’t yet. So this is not an instruction manual. Cloning requires a living somatic (body) cell from a creature and a living egg from the same or a very closely related species. Mammoths are not currently living creatures, therefore, there will be no cloning of mammoths. Cue relief for all the terrified folks out there.
This was a very interesting read, it covered a lot of ground—not just scientific issues, but the moral & ethical issues surrounding the subject too. I found it to be quite balanced—not overly enthusiastic about cloning but not scared to death of the prospect either.
The most interesting things I learned?
The author points out quite clearly that bringing back exactly one mammoth would be a bad idea. They, like other elephant species, were very social animals and having a lone individual would be needlessly cruel. Also, any mammoth would have to be raised by elephants and would necessarily be influenced by that upbringing. Its behaviour is unlikely to be genuine mammoth behaviour. Both extant elephant species are endangered, so using females of these species to gestate mammoth babies is probably not a good idea—they need to be producing more baby elephants, not indulging our desires to resurrect an extinct animal (and with a gestation period of almost 2 years, they are already very slow-reproducing animals).
A very interesting read, especially as I went to the movie Jurassic World on the weekend (the SeaWorld like scene with the Mosasaur is awesome and I finally learned why my online women friends are enthusiastic about Chris Pratt). Plus, I heard on the radio this morning that cattle geneticists are considering splicing genes to make white Black Angus cattle, which would theoretically be less heat-stressed in this climate-changed world we inhabit. Because I had just finished this book, I actually knew a little something about the process that was being described!