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Science & Technology

Major new project aims to resurrect the Tasmanian tiger

By T.K. Randall
August 16, 2022 · Comment icon 8 comments

Could the thylacine be brought back from extinction ? Image Credit: NFSA
The new multi-million dollar endeavor will attempt to bring the extinct species back to life via genetic restoration.
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.

Now though, scientists at the University of Melbourne in Australia have teamed up with US biotech company Colossal in an effort to 'de-extinct' the species and bring it back to life.

The university recently received a $5 million philanthropic donation so that it could build a thylacine genetic restoration lab having previously sequenced the genome of a juvenile specimen.
To create a living thylacine, the project will involve taking stem cells from an extant species with similar DNA and turning them into thylacine cells using modern gene editing techniques.

New assisted reproductive technologies would then be developed to produce a viable embryo which would then gestate inside either an artificial womb or a surrogate.

Actually producing a live thylacine, however, is likely to take some time, with the scientists estimating that the first could be born within the next 10 years.

If successful, the work could also pave the way for other 'de-extinctions' in the future.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by HSlim 1 month ago
I mean, how could this EVER go wrong
Comment icon #2 Posted by moonman 1 month ago
If it's just original DNA and not "enhanced" or anything, nothing will go wrong. I highly doubt they will ever bring back enough of anything to repopulate an extinct species, but have fun trying. Poachers alone will put a stop to that real quick. The first mammoth they bring back to the wild will be shot dead in 2.5 seconds.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hammerclaw 1 month ago
Seems like we hear this sort of thing, once every ten years or so, yet nothing ever comes of it.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Myles 1 month ago
I hope they succeed.
Comment icon #5 Posted by the13bats 1 month ago
Ive heard it for decades but then again i never believed in 82 i would hold a computer in my hand etc i wish them luck. Me too. the tiger was killed off by man we owe them iirc the mammoths died out from a changing world if so then like john malcome said they had their chance.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Nnicolette 1 month ago
If I only had $5 for every time I heard a company was going to resurrect an extinct species... It the mammoth resurrection still experiencing holdups about the ethics of making the Asian elephant carry the mammoth? What is even a comparable surrogate to a tasmanian tiger?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Silver Surfer 1 month ago
I'm going to resurrect a dragon.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Still Waters 1 month ago
Why the Idea of Bringing the Tasmanian Tiger Back From Extinction Draws So Much Controversy Hopes aside, a lot needs to go right for thylacines to once again prowl Tasmania, and the project has faced pushback from several different fronts. Some critics say the researchers need to be consulting Indigenous Australians now, before the project gets more deeply underway. Others have expressed concern that the headline-grabbing prospect of de-extinction willshift resources and attention awayfrom the protection of still-living threatened species Still others worry about the treatment of the animals... [More]

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