The Tasmanian tiger has been extinct since 1936: a group of scientists plans to revive it, is it a good idea?


In 1936 he died in captivity the last Tasmanian Tigernamed Benjamin. It was at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania. By 2022, a group of scientists plans to revive it, in a controversial plan that brings together its DNA and state-of-the-art technology.

It is a good idea?

Tasmanian tigers (Thylacinus cynocephalus) they became extinct when European settlers on the Australian island in the 19th century began hunting them, blaming them for livestock losses.

These animals, very similar to coyotes, but shy and almost always active at night, disappeared one by one.

This 1925 photo shows an Australian hunter with a dead Tasmanian tiger.

Human action killed them and now human action plans to revive them.

Andrew Pask, professor at the University of Melbourne and director of the Thylacine Integrated Genomic Restoration Research Lab, is at the forefront of the initiative.

“We would strongly advocate that, first and foremost, we protect our biodiversity from further extinctions. But unfortunately we’re not seeing a slowdown in species loss,” Pask said. quoted by CNN.

“This genetic restoration technology offers the possibility of correcting this, and could be applied in exceptional circumstances where key species have been lost.” Indian.

This was the Tasmanian tiger

Also known as the thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger disappeared nearly two thousand years ago from everywhere except the Australian island of Tasmania. It was a marsupial apex predator, 100-180 centimeters long, with a 50-65 centimeters tail and 60 centimeters height. among adults.

Also known as a thylacine, it was very similar to coyotes.

The female had a pouch with four breasts, and the males had a scrotal pocket, an element into which they could insert their scrotal sac.

Tasmanian tiger jaws they were powerful, with 46 teeth.

The scientists plan

The Thylacine Integrated project is a collaboration with Colossal Biosciences, a company founded by Ben Lamm and George Church. Lamm is a tech entrepreneur, while Church is a Harvard geneticist.

These two figures are also working on a project to resurrect the woolly Mammoth, in an altered way: they have collected for the moment 15 million dollars.

The steps to follow to bring the Tasmanian tiger to life are as follows:

  1. Construct a detailed genome of the extinct animal, comparing it to that of its closest relative, the fat-tailed dunnart.
  2. Dunnart will have his DNA edited in each place where it differs from the Tasmanian tiger, engineering a new cell.
  3. The dunnarts will reproduce, turning that cell back into a living animal: a new Tasmanian tiger.

“Our ultimate goal with this technology is to restore these species to the wild, where they played an absolutely essential role in the ecosystem,” Pask tells CNN. “So our last hope is that one day you’ll see them again in the Tasmanian bush.”

Voices against the treatment to resurrect the Tasmanian tiger

The questions point to the fact that the hybrid, genetically imperfect, he would have health problems and would not survive without help from humans.

Tasmanian tigers at Hobart Zoo in 1933.

Others claim that while experts spend tens of millions of dollars trying to revive animals, these can be used to protect others in danger of extinction.

CNN quotes Tom Gilbert, a professor at the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen. This one is blunt: “Do the interested parties realize that what they will get will not be the thylacine, but some imperfect hybrid? We don’t need people who are disappointed or fooled by science.”

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