Scientists plan to revive Tasmanian tiger

With science and technology anything is possible! Nearly 100 years after extinction, the Tasmanian tiger may be making a comeback. According to CNNScientists want to revive the striped carnivorous marsupial, officially known as the thylacine, that roamed the Australian bush. Scientist Will use advances in genetics, ancient DNA retrieval, and artificial breeding to bring the animal back!

If you are unfamiliar with the thylacine, it can be compared to a coyote. This animal disappeared about 2,000 years ago, leaving the Australian island of Tasmania. As the only marsupial apex predator to have lived in modern times, the thylacine played an important role in its ecosystem. However, it was unpopular with humans.

The last thylacine in captivity, Benjamin, died of exposure in 1936 at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania.

Monumental damage occurred shortly after the thylacine was granted protected status. Unfortunately, it was too late to save the species. Andrew Pask, a professor at the University of Melbourne and head of its Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research Lab, who is leading the initiative, says,

“We would strongly advocate that first we need to protect our biodiversity from further extinction, but unfortunately we are not seeing a reduction in species loss.”

He continued, “This technology offers an opportunity to correct this and can be applied in exceptional circumstances where cornerstone species have been lost.”

There are some heavy hitters involved in this project. The report points out that it is a collaboration with Colossal Biosciences, founded by tech entrepreneur Ben Lam and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church. The men are currently working on a $15 million project to bring the woolly mammoth back into shape.

It is very interesting to bring the animal back. The team will build a complex genome of the extinct animal and compare it to that of its closest living relative—a mouse-sized carnivorous marsupial called the fat-tailed Dunart—to identify differences.

“Then we take living cells from our Dunnart and edit their DNA everywhere where it differs from the thylacine. We are essentially engineering our Dunnart cell to become a Tasmanian tiger cell,” explained Andrew .

When the team has successfully programmed a cell, Andrew says, stem cells and reproductive technology that includes Dunarts as a surrogate will “turn that cell into a living animal.” Roommates, what do you think about this?


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