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Firm develops Tasmanian tiger DNA detector

Posted on Saturday, 21 November, 2020 | Comment icon 7 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 (7)

Tags: Thylacine

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog on 21 November, 2020, 12:56
How long a sample would be tested positive ? Thylacine presence was not that far ago...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 on 21 November, 2020, 14:56
Unlike Bigfoot, Nessie, Chupacabra, etc. Thylacines were/are actually real. I hope we can find out they're still around, but I won't hold my breath...
Comment icon #3 Posted by oldrover on 21 November, 2020, 17:43
Last definite evidence of a thylacine in the wild was betwen August the 3rd and 9th 1930. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Abramelin on 21 November, 2020, 19:39
I wonder: would a bloodhound, or better, an American vulture (with the most impressive sense of smell) not do a better job?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog on 21 November, 2020, 20:35
Theres 80% chance of finding DNA after 30 days of presence, it decline probly faster with time passing, so false positive  is more or less impossible, nice. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200115093439.htm    
Comment icon #6 Posted by openozy on 21 November, 2020, 22:56
A scent hound would find one if it's out there, or at least scat.Problem is you need fresh skin or scent to train a dog to run straight on a certain scent.
Comment icon #7 Posted by oldrover on 23 November, 2020, 11:55
I'm afraid a genuine positive is even more so in my opinion.

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