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Firm develops Tasmanian tiger DNA detector

Posted on Saturday, 21 November, 2020 | Comment icon 19 comments

Could there still be thylacines alive in the wilds of Australia ? Image Credit: Benjamin A. Sheppard
A genetic science company in Australia has developed a way to detect the presence of thylacines out in the wild.
Officially thought to have gone extinct decades ago, the thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger) was a distinctive carnivorous marsupial native to Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.

Sporadic reports of alleged thylacines in the wild however have continued even to the present day, leading many researchers to believe that the species has managed to survive against all odds.

Conclusively proving this however has long proven to be a major challenge.

Now though, thylacine researcher Michael Moss has enlisted the services of EnviroDNA - a firm which analyzes environmental DNA (eDNA) to determine which species are living in any given area.
Such DNA traces may be found in skin cells, hairs and saliva that animals leave behind. By taking samples of the soil in a given area, the DNA of each species can be identified.

Now the team at EnviroDNA has used an analysis of the DNA from a preserved thylacine pup to expand its species library to include the Tasmanian tiger.

If a positive match can be found, it would suggest that there are still living thylacines roaming around.

So far the test has only been done on a preserved thylacine hair, however it should be possible to start analyzing general samples for signs of the species in the near future.

It will certainly be interesting to see what, if anything, the team finds.

Source: EnviroDNA | Comments (19)

Tags: Thylacine

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Jon the frog on 13 January, 2021, 15:40
Not a new thing. Used for fishes survey for a time now. A bit less in land habitat, a first for thylacine or ''extinct'' animal tho. Not good to find a single individual if it's what you are implying.
Comment icon #11 Posted by CuriousEye on 13 January, 2021, 15:49
How efficient this genomic detecting process can be? What I mean is, how much time does it take to genetic data from deteriorating in land habitat and whether the possibility to use it to improve manhunts of incriminated suspects,  wanted persons, military assets or targets can be approchable for now?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Guyver on 13 January, 2021, 16:07
The chupacabra is actually confirmed and a lady in Texas has one prepped and mounted in her living room.  
Comment icon #13 Posted by Jon the frog on 13 January, 2021, 16:40
Like cited above, there's  80% chance of finding a species DNA after 30 days of presence. It continue to going down quite fast. It's not like testing a leftover (hair, tissue, fluid) with enormous quantity of DNA, it's testing the habitat for a trace presence. What little DNA found in an  open habitat cannot identify an individual but it can give you a list of species occuring tin the habitat if you have identification tracers for these species. Right now, the firm have made a identification tracer for thylacines, si they can use it to see if it'S present or not in samples. It's quite cool.
Comment icon #14 Posted by CuriousEye on 13 January, 2021, 16:50
Quite cool, indeed.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Seti42 on 16 January, 2021, 17:39
It's a dog. This has been debunked ages ago. I believe the specific breed is called a Mexican Hairless. 
Comment icon #16 Posted by Jon the frog on 16 January, 2021, 17:49
Comment icon #17 Posted by Guyver on 16 January, 2021, 19:00
Comment icon #18 Posted by Seti42 on 16 January, 2021, 22:50
Comment icon #19 Posted by Guyver on 17 January, 2021, 0:03
No.  You said it was a dog.  Livescience said it was a raccoon with mange, the dna says something different.      

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