De-Extinction Scientists Attempting To Bring ‘Tiger’ Species From 100 Years Ago Back To Life

Shola Lee

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De-Extinction Scientists Attempting To Bring ‘Tiger’ Species From 100 Years Ago Back To Life

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

De-extinction scientists are reportedly attempting to bring back a species of tiger that went extinct nearly 100 years ago.

The researchers are said to be planning to use stem cells to make an embryo of the extinct species of Tasmanian tiger.

They will then implant the embryo into a surrogate animal, in the hopes of reviving the long-gone species.

The tigers lived in Tasmania until European settlers wiped them out through hunting.

Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)
Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)

While most of the species was wiped out around 3,000 years ago, a few remained living in captivity, the last of its kind died in 1936.

The tigers, also know as the thylacine, were a predatory marsupial and share characteristics with Australia's present day dingoes and wild dogs.

Now, scientists at the University of Melbourne have been working in the hopes of reviving the species, with new funding being put towards the project.

A donation of $3.6 million was made to go towards the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Lab, Newsweek reports.

Professor Andrew Pask from the School of BioSciences at the university said of the backing for the project, 'The level of support we have for this project now I think it is conceivable that we could thylacine-like cell within 10 years.'

Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)
Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)

The donation came from the Wilson Family Trust, with Russel Wilson speaking about how the trust invested in Pask's 'incredible work' after seeing 'some YouTube clips' of him talking about the research.

If successful, the project could help repair the Australian ecosystem. According to Pask, the tigers are a good candidate for de-extinction as they played a significant role in helping balance Tasmania's ecosystem.

He explained that apex predators like the Tasmanian tiger, or predators at the top of the food chain, helped balance the ecosystem as they 'pick off and eat the sick animals controlling the spread of diseases' that threaten other wildlife populations.

Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)
Tasmanian tiger (Alamy)

Pask said it's a big job to undertake, but given the right support they can keep driving the project forward.

The professor even likened the project to Jurassic Park, explaining that 'we start with a living cell from a closely related species, in this case the dunnart – and we edit that cell to turn it genome into that of the thylacine'.

A thylacine cell is what's needed for cloning technology to turn that cell into a living animal.

While it does sound like Jurassic Park, hopefully this revival won't leave Jeff Goldblum seriously injured.

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Topics: Technology, Life, Animals, Science, World News

Shola Lee
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