Science & Technology
Major new project aims to resurrect the Tasmanian tiger
By T.K. Randall
August 16, 2022 · 12 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
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