The Rebirth of the Tasmanian Tiger

| August 11, 2000

The Rebirth of the Tasmanian Tiger

An extinct 'doglike carnivorous marsupial' has become the center of attention in Australia because of its genes. Scientists plan to clone the Tasmanian Tiger, though it's been extinct for 65 years, and reintroduce it into the wild.

Luba Vangelova of the Environmental News Network writes that the scientists at the Australian Museum in Sydney hope to use a 134-year-old tiger pup for cloning material, because unlike all its preserved colleagues, this one sits in alcohol instead of formalin and consequently has intact genetic material.

In April the head of evolutionary biology, Don Colgan, helped extract morsels of DNA from the tiger. He said that the minute amount they now have will provide them with at least hundreds of copies of the animal's genome.

'The Australian Museum scientists admit their odds of successfully cloning the tiger are slim,' writes Vangelova. 'But they hope the effort will at least pave the way for future initiatives and therefore justify its cost, expected to run into the tens of millions of dollars.' -- Sara BuckwitzGo there>>