According to a story in Independent, scientists in Australia and the United States have started a large-scale, multimillion-dollar attempt to resurrect the thylacine, a mammal that became extinct about a century ago. The animal will be returned to its home Tasmania by the researchers. The initiative is being directed by a business that calls itself a “de-extinction corporation,” specialises in “breakthrough genetic engineering,” the site added in its report. The creature is commonly referred to as a “Tasmanian tiger” or “Tasmanian wolf.”
The corporation claims that reintroducing the marsupial will restore equilibrium to the larger Australian ecology, which has been degraded and biodiversity lost since the predator vanished, according to the Independent report.
According to the Financial Times, thylacines could be released back into the wild in ten years. The publication added that the final Tasmanian tiger perished in a cage in 1936.
The local government established a reward on its death in order to preserve the sheep, which caused its population to rapidly plummet.
Locals have, however, reported frequently spotting the animal in the wild, raising hopes that it somehow managed to survive. The Times quoted evolutionary biologist and University of Melbourne professor Andrew Pask as saying, “It’s like our Loch Ness monster.” The thylacine genome has been reconstructed by the researcher’s lab, the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research, or TIGRR, facility.
According to an article by The Guardian describing the procedure, scientists used gene editing skills they have accumulated over the years to transform stem cells from a live species with comparable DNA, the fat-tailed dunnart, into thylacine cells.
In order to use the stem cells to create an embryo, the company is currently using novel assisted reproductive technologies designed specifically for marsupials, the source added.