In a world first, scientists have extracted a gene from the extinct Tasmanian tiger and successfully inserted it into a mouse embryo. Researchers from the University of Melbourne and the University of Texas, say the technology will not lead to the cloning of an entire Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine.
It seems the process isolated one gene and proved its function, sort of like pulling a segment of software and testing its function in another program. If they could find a gene for intelligence to insert into TV news people we’d really benefit.
While they are reporting that we are a step closer to ‘Jurassic Park’ many of us familiar with the thylacine story are wishing the cloning nonsense would go away. Resurrecting an example of this allegedly extinct animal, isolated from its social milieu, raises its own questions.
I say allegedly, as the areas of Tasmania where the tigers were known to exist is sufficiently large and inaccessible to still contain some of these animals. There have been sporadic reports of sightings around the edges of these wilderness rainforest areas.
The great part is that if proof is found of their continued existence it will be kept a tight secret. Humans drove the tiger to ‘extinction’ by the 1930s, and would probably be eager to finish the ob off if others were found now.