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Bits of Tassie Tiger Brought Back from Extinction

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-much-to-look-at-yet dept.

Biotech 197

zerobeat writes "Scientists from Melbourne, Australia have managed to resurrect the gene responsible for the development of cartilage and bone from the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger. The gene was expressed in a mouse embryo so the full reincarnation of a full Tassie Tiger is a long way off. You can listen to an MP3 of ABC Australia's Robyn Williams discussing the results with the lead scientists. This is the first time DNA from an extinct species has been made to live again in a live animal."

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Brings to mind Jurassic Park (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23474982)

In Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park [amazon.com] , the dinosaur DNA extracted from the stomachs of mosquitos trapped in amber is incomplete as well, but by combining it with the DNA of modern reptiles, a decent simalcrum of a dinosaur could be had. Does this Tasmanian tiger development vindicate (at least the less out there elements of) Crichton's plot?

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475014)

simalcrum

Err, that should read simulacrum.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475038)

Probably not, but it makes for interesting thought experiments. I would not use reptiles though. Birds are probably far closer genetically to dinosaurs than any living reptiles are today. Some might even say that dinosaurs didn't really die off; they evolved into birds and lived on in that manner.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (0, Offtopic)

tumbleweedsi (904869) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475928)

"Some might even say that dinosaurs didn't really die off; they evolved into birds and lived on in that manner."

Yes, that was Sam Neil's character in the movie that said that.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (2, Informative)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475048)

Well, the tiger DNA is only 70 years old. The Dino DNA is 70 million years old.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475894)

Well, the tiger DNA is only 70 years old. The Dino DNA is 6000 years old.
There, corrected it for you. ;-)

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475058)

Does this Tasmanian tiger development vindicate (at least the less out there elements of) Crichton's plot?
In a word: No. Grabbing one gene from an extinct species is very different than grabbing most of the entire genome is. Plus, the Tasmanian Tiger is far more-recently-extinct than dinosaurs, so the DNA is, without a doubt, much, much newer. (DNA degrades significantly over time.)

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475778)

Someone mod this guy down for ruining our fun and imaginations!

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476792)

It should be noted as well, that when it was apparent the Tasmanian Tiger would become extinct, they started to preserve the remains in alcohol rather than formaldehyde. Alcohol does not damage DNA the way formaldehyde does.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (2, Funny)

abhitux (1279018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475162)

this time the tigers would be killed by Global Warming

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (2, Informative)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475184)

In the movie they used amphibians.

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475354)

In the movie they used amphibians.
Makes you wonder why they didn't sit around going "Bud" .... "Weis"......."Er"...... doesn't it?

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (3, Insightful)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475924)

Who says they didn't? Do you speak dinosaur?

Michael Crichton (1, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476152)

Michael Crichton is the only author (that I'm aware of) who still writes science fiction as it was intended -- fiction based on science. He puts a lot of research into the science he uses in his books. So yes, while he does use some unrealistic things for the sake of the story (the point after all is to entertain, not be a textbook), I'd be willing to bet that what he used in Jurassic Park is at least theoretically possible.

Re:Michael Crichton (2, Insightful)

FesterDaFelcher (651853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476598)

who still writes science fiction as it was intended -- fiction based on science.
You're right, the "Manifesto of Science Fiction Writers" from the 1600's clearly stated that the intent of science fiction was to base fiction on science.

Come on. People write books. Those books must be categorized in order to sell. There's no great conspiracy trying to ruin the science fiction genre and subjugate your reading habits. Take off the tinfoil hat.

Yeah, but "bits"? (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476810)

"Bits" of Tassie? Is that the technical term for incomplete DNA strands?

Kinda reminds me of referring to the Internet backbone as "pipes."

Re:Brings to mind Jurassic Park (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477060)

Does this Tasmanian tiger development vindicate (at least the less out there elements of) Crichton's plot?

No. The Tasmanian Tiger became extinct in the 1930s. We have samples taken from freshly dead corpses and preserved in laboratories. Not fossilised for 65 million years.>P? Anyway, Crichton's "plot" was" wild animals escaper, kill people, and finally some survivors escape. The plot could have been exactly the same with tigers, vampire bats, anacondas, or for thta matter, robots (like Westworld, an earlier Crichton book/movie) etc, etc.

Eeek! (2, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23474994)

I for one do NOT welcome our new tasmanian mouse overlords.

On a more serious note, it would be fascinating if they could bring back a few recently extinct species. DNA degrades quite a bit over time though, so any hopes of a real life 'Jurassic Park' are probably going to remain science fiction forever.

Re:Eeek! (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475078)

our new tasmanian mouse overlords.
So, would that be the mouse that roared?

A magnificent piece of ripe low-hanging fruit, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476888)

damn - you beat me to it!

Re:Eeek! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475720)

I think a real life Jurassic Park is possible. It might not have the exact same animals that existed before but technology could one day let us genetically design such creatures (based on our knowledge, fossils, etc). You don't need any of the original DNA for that, we would just approximate something like a dinosaur.

I'm not sure if that would be a good idea but it would definitely be cool.

Re:Eeek! (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475760)

Meh. I'm not sure how cool it would be. I'd much rather see them work towards restoring species that went extinct because of human activity. I'm pretty sure we didn't cause the demise of the dinosaurs.

Re:Eeek! (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475744)

In that case why don't they bloody bring something useful like the Steller Cow. While trying to bring back the some of the native Australian species is a great achievement none of them would have the direct economic impact of having a sustainable see grazer capable of living in cold water.

Re:Eeek! (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476230)

I'm sure we'll eventually be able to bring some extinct animals back to life and/or recreate something close to dinosaurs.

First off, DNA degrades, but the most successful DNA sequencing technique (Craig Venter's) does not rely on having intact DNA - just enough snippets that can be reassembled.

Secondly, while it'd be nice to recreate a DNA-authentic T-Rex/whatever, I'm sure that most people would be plenty satisified to go to a monster park full of any flesh and blood beasts that looked close enough. Scientists have already been able to create a stork with teeth, and though similar understanding of what encodes what, it would be possible to start with something close enough, then "make it scaly", "make it bigger", "make it more muscular" (do a Google image search for "belgian blue"), "make the teeth bigger", "make it more aggressive" etc until one arrived at a neo-T-Rex.

Re:Eeek! (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476592)

Just out of curiosity, even though DNA degrades significantly over time, do the same sequences in the DNA degrade at the same rate? Suppose you were able to recover DNA from a number different individuals from the same species. Would it be possible to compare the DNA from multiple sources and try to "fill in the blanks" so to speak? Or would there be so much missing information that even with hundreds of samples, there's no way to complete the sequence?

Go easy on me if this is a stupid question -- I'm a computer geek, not a microbiologist ;)

The Answer is Yes, Check out Neanderthal (2, Informative)

MaizeMan (1076255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476812)

The short answer to your question is yes. It wouldn't even have to be multiple sources because any biological tissue is made up of uncountable numbers of cells, each with their own copy of the genome. So really if you extract DNA from a big enough sample and can sequence enough small enough pieces of DNA, the problem becomes simple a computational one of lining them all up into chromosomes based on overlap. With current technology we're on the edge of being able to sequence something like a Nanderthal. For dinosaurs, there might be almost no DNA left, since the fossils aren't biological tissue, so I don't know if that will ever be possible. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/314/5802/1113 [sciencemag.org]

Re:Eeek! (1)

cybergrunt69 (730228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476674)

[snip]On a more serious note, it would be fascinating if they could bring back a few recently extinct species. [/snip]
I think a modern-day Jurassic Park idea is workable. It may not be politically correct because of the cloning aspect, but it would be kind of cool to see.

Many animals that have gone extinct no longer have their native habitat, so they would be destined to live their entire lives in zoos, and they would exist almost solely for scientific and amusement purposes. Is it worthwhile (or humane) to even attempt this?

Maybe with bringing back a species, we could have them adapt to counter-balance the effect of non-native species invasions... Like the Zebra Mussel [great-lakes.net] .

A unix system! (3, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475022)

I know this!

Re:A unix system! (0, Flamebait)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475118)

I know this!
Shut up. Just, shut up. Interestingly enough, the system shown was a Macintosh (pre-OS X, however). /me starts wondering about connections between Stephen Spielberg and Steve Jobs. *dons tinfoil hat*

Re:A unix system! (3, Informative)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475392)

Um, no. The system was actually running SGI 3D Navigator. Check out the Wikipedia entry on SGI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_Graphics [wikipedia.org]

Re:A unix system! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475818)

Right, the screen displays were 3D Navigator, but I swear that the monitor and mouse were off a Mac.

Re:A unix system! (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475948)

If memory serves, the monitor was a bog-standard Trinitron.

Re:A unix system! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476134)

Could be. I have CRAFT Disease. (Can't Remember A Fscking Thing). What do I know?

Re:A unix system! (1)

Azh Nazg (826118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475402)

I know this!
What was depicted there was the SGI 3D File System Navigator (fsn) running on IRIX. . . So, yes, it actually was UNIX, amazingly.

Re:A unix system! (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475962)

Mod parent up. Just because you don't get the joke doesn't mean it's offtopic.

First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1, Troll)

abhitux (1279018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475046)

Hmm Good but instead of bringing dead animals to life if only they concentrate on saving the nearly extinct animals that would be real science for humanity..also there are plenty of issues to look at like alternate fuels and global warming

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475218)

Why do you hate America?!?

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

abhitux (1279018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475288)

Nah I don't hate America but i hate the things scientists are doing these days

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475534)

I don't hate America, it's The Netherlands I can't abide.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (4, Funny)

PeterChenoweth (603694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475852)

Agreed. There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476236)

Is this a competition for who has the longest list?

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

abhitux (1279018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477196)

Hollywood movies do support/depict misanthropy

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (2, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475364)

All biologists/geneticists don't work on one project you know. There are people out there who do that "real science for humanity." But you may want to start asking why politicians and corporations don't try to fund research that investigates those topics, and not that laughable bill that was passed in the US not long ago which basically just subsidized more corn farmers.
Not trolling here, just wish this ethanol kick would end because it isn't feasible. Just look at the numbers [umn.edu] .

Now back to the topic at hand. Helping revive an indigenous species which was wiped out by humans is beneficial to their problems with invasive species such as foxes. I'm not saying they will eat rabbits and rats, but it will add some more stabilization to the food web, and hopefully won't target the dingoes.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476408)

It's nice that someone doesn't automatically hate the dingoes. Luckily for them, the theory is that they were partially responsible for the loss of the Thylacine on the mainland because they out-competed it. Unfortunately for the dingoes, there aren't many of them left in the wild. With inter-breeding with feral dogs and farmers killing them any way they can, they'll only exist in captivity soon unless something changes.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475454)

Reality check here, they aren't trying to create a means to save animals that go extinct. It wouldn't work anyway, because many creatures require habitat that dissapears, That being what makes them go extinct in the first place.

Few animals go extinct in a way that means they could be realistically revived. A shame, but true, so that would be a losing strategy.

Lets look at a recent example, the baiji dolphin. It is now functionally, if not totally, extinct, and a major part of the cause was the fact that their habitat is no longer what it used to be, i.e a vast, silty, *quiet* river. Now it's a vast, crowded, polluted river.
Hunting was a problem too, but wouldn't have been had not the environment changed so much (meaning if there were less humans utilizing the river). They've been hunted for thousands of years and only became endangered after the wide scale industrialization of the Yangtze River.

Same for the woolly mammoth. As interesting and challenging as the recreation of that species is (and possible too, there are still frozen mammoths being excavated with intact testicles). The big problem is that they are huge creates whose habitat is long gone. Where would they go if we made them again?

The Tasmanian Tiger is a special case, being rendered extinct fairly recently, and having it's habitat still almost entirely intact.

As for saving the animals in the first place, got a few trillion dollers to pay off the poverty line hugging people that are being paid pennies to actually go out and cut down habitats to make rich people richer? Cos I haven't.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

Melbourne Pete (1204418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475838)

Same for the woolly mammoth. As interesting and challenging as the recreation of that species is (and possible too, there are still frozen mammoths being excavated with intact testicles). The big problem is that they are huge creates whose habitat is long gone. Where would they go if we made them again?
Fill in the missing parts of the genome with Chiuaua DNA. I bet they'd make very popular house pets.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476042)

I would LOVE to have a miniature pet lap-elephant! That would kick ass!

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (3, Funny)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476912)

Fill in the missing parts of the genome with Chiuaua DNA. I bet they'd make very popular house pets.

Oh @#$%@!!! no!

The last thing I want is a house pet that sheds a wool blanket twice a year, has tusks that are nearly equal its body length and has the disposition of a Chihuahua.

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476012)

Few animals go extinct in a way that means they could be realistically revived.
Another overlooked aspect is that of the culture of these animals. We bring the species back into existence, but whatever traits that were actually learned are lost to time.

By culture I'm referring to anything that is passed on from parent to child via teaching (observation). Animal calls are an example of this.

- John

A zoo (1)

vecctor (935163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476404)

Where would they go if we made them again?
A zoo. These species would be interesting to see/study even if we didn't re-introduce them into the wild or repopulate the species.

I'd certainly like to see a live woolly mammoth walking around :-)

Re:First Save the ones on the verge of extinction (1)

Brobock (226116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476474)

Reality check here, they aren't trying to create a means to save animals that go extinct. It wouldn't work anyway, because many creatures require habitat that dissapears, That being what makes them go extinct in the first place.

Few animals go extinct in a way that means they could be realistically revived. A shame, but true, so that would be a losing strategy.
Then there was the Passenger Pigeon which didn't die due to loss of habitat, but rather over hunting as cheap meat. If they could be resurrected, I don't think they would have a problem thriving if a large population can be generated before releasing them into the wild.

And all will be just fine... (3, Funny)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475086)

until some renegade security geek disables the electric fence, and T-Rex's start eating attorneys everywhere...

oh wait...let 'em run free then

Nah...That's not a gene.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475230)

THIS is a gene!!!!

G'Day, Sports...

Tassie Tiger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475248)

At first I thought I missed out on a bunch of Ubuntu releases!

Re:Tassie Tiger? (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475426)

You did. Didn't you notice the datestamp on this post? The year is 2035, and we're all working very hard on squashing the Unix epoch time bug.

Why? (0, Flamebait)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475280)

"So the full reincarnation of a full Tassie Tiger is a long way off."

Why? Species are extinct for a reason - they did not survive. I never understood an ecological reason for preservation of a particular species with organism count in 100s (like pandas, for example). Just think what would be ecological impact of disappearance of 100 pandas...

There might be other commercial reasons to preserve certain species (tourism, political, etc.), but if you think only ecology, then there is no need to resurrect species that are extinct or preserve species that are on the verge of extinction.

IMHO, the ecological efforts are too concentrated on preservation of individual species instead of preservation of ecological communities as a whole.

And if those ecological communities are so tender, why bother? Let it go. We can survive in concrete underground or some other kind of apocalyptic econightmare anti-utopia...

If the wild life cannot stand humans, let it go. Evolve or smth, get some oil-eating teeth, develop some plastic resistance.

"Nature" is overrated.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475348)

The panda is an excellent example. They just weren't made to survive.

They need to eat constantly, because they get hardly any benefit from eating bamboo shoots, which they are unable to digest properly.

But they're too damn picky to eat anything but bamboo.

Anything that isn't willing to eat food capable of keeping it alive reliably deserves to die out, no matter how cute and cuddly it is.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

ChuckSchwab (813568) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475482)

Anything that isn't willing to eat food capable of keeping it alive reliably deserves to die out, no matter how cute and cuddly it is.
You're ignoring the fitness value of its cuteness/cuddliness.

Why do you think we kept cats around for so long? ;-)

Re:Why? (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475772)

Not to mention that their repution for being extremely difficult to mate is second only to.... ...you all know where I headed here right? ;o)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476856)

As George Carlin says, "I have no emotional state in panda fucking..."

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475436)

Troll accounts are extinct for a reason - they did not survive the onslaught of downmods. I never understood a discursive reason for preservation of a particular account with insightful comment ratios in the hundredths (like yours, for example). Just think what would be signal/noise impact of your account's karma trashing...

There might be other reasons to preserve certain accounts (point, laugh, etc.) but if you think only about useful discussions, there is no need to preserve accounts that have been moderated into oblivion.

IMHO, the benefits would be too concentrated on preservation of an individual account instead of perservation of the value of the slashdot community as a whole.

And if those troll accounts require too much deliberate upkeep from good-guy moderators, why bother? Let it go. We can thrive on other websites if we let the wrong accounts get trashed.

If you account cannot stand downmodding, let it go. Mature, or stop flagrantly trolling.

"Trolls" are overrated.

Re:Why? (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475584)

"Why? Species are extinct for a reason - they did not survive. I never understood an ecological reason for preservation of a particular species with organism count in 100s (like pandas, for example). Just think what would be ecological impact of disappearance of 100 pandas..."

Because humans are arrogant and many of them believe that we are directly responsible for what happens to everything on the planet. That if an animal goes extinct we are to blame and have some moral responsibility to try to save the species.

Although in some cases it's true. Such as over fishing of whales and Marlin. I'm not so sure that I would agree with indirect causation, however. Such as over hunting of a food source of another species. Food sources can be cut off due to a number of natural causes and if a species is unable to adapt and find new food that's it's problem. I'm sure many lengthy debates can be had on these issues and they all vary from situation to situation.

Re:Why? (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475888)

The Tasmanian Tiger once had a very large population, so much so infact thtat it was culled in early colonial times. THIS is the reason for it's extinction; not some sort of Darwinesque genetic inviability.

Re:Why? (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476000)

Although in some cases it's true. Such as over fishing of whales and Marlin.

But if one day lions were to polish off the last of the zebra, would it be any different?

We are just the only creatures on the planet capable of feeling guilty for our evolutionary success. If the ebola virus were to gain some ability that enabled it to infect all living humans, I very much doubt that it would leave the last 100 or so of us alive, keep us in zoos and initiate international breeding programmes.

At what point did the human race go from being a part of these natural systems to being above them? When did we start feeling guilty for the traits that have made us such a successful species?

I get as sentimental about the poor as the next guy, but it is survival of the fittest. A guy could dedicate his whole life to saving the tiger, the tiger doesn't look at him through the wire fence with gratitude, the tiger looks at him with lunch plans.

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476088)

I get as sentimental about the poor as the next guy

Oopsies! That was supposed to read as "I get as sentimental about the poor [insert favoured endangered species here] as the next guy", except I used greater than and less than symbols in the original which was obviously filtered by the slashcode. For the record, I am, *in no way*, suggesting that we hunt the poor to extinction ;o).

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

demallien2 (991621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476224)

The justification for preserving species is not because we feel guilty, but because biodiversity has tangible benefits for us. Large species, such as the panda, are excellent indicators for the health of an entire eco-system. As others have noted, animals such as the banji or the panda, or the orangutan go instinct not because of direct human action, but because they no longer have an ecosystem in which to live. That ecosystem may have plants in it that contain the genes that produce a protein that cures MS, or protects rice from a mutated fungus, etc.

It's not guilt, but self-interest that is the main justification for current conservation efforts.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475964)

Well, it would depend on WHY the species dwindled down to ~100. Was it because of natural selection or because man hunted them down to extinction. The latter was certainly the case with the American Bison and with the ongoing of whaling. And there is a case that, in a large part, man caused the Thylacine demise.

You might be able to use distant relatives to eventually create some sort of Thylacine cross. However the Thylacine is not related to either tigers or wolves [wikipedia.org] though it went by the name Tasmanian Tiger or Wolf--it is closer in relation to the Tasmanian Devil. I can't think of why you want to rekindle another, LARGER carnivorous creature with a nasty temper.

Re:Why? (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476702)

Yes, Colonials culled the Tassie Tiger to extinction.
I believe the closest genetic relative would be the Dingo.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476806)

The individual species (esp. large cuddly ones like Pandas) may be the poster children of species preservation, but really it's more a matter of habitat preservation and ecosystem preservation in general rather than whether any one given species makes a difference. Would it really matter if the Bamboo forests in Japan all disappeared and the Pandas with them? ... maybe not in terms of Pandas and Bamboo, but who knows what the knock-on or unexpected effects of losing that would be, or of losing a large percentage of the amazonian jungle, etc. Do we care if global temperatures rise by a few degrees due to deforestatation or greenhouse gases? Maybe not on the level of temperatures, but what if that caused global fish stocks to crash, or fresh water supplies to disappear?

As far as the "poster children", I think there is still good reason to preserve them for their own sake. See how interested people are now in the Tasmanian Tiger which isn't even that different looking to other extant species... Don't you think it'd be a shame if the next generation of children grow up in a world where large species like Pandas, Rhinos, Elephants, Gorillas etc only exist as stuffed specimens in museums? In fact I'm sure we've already all but irrecoverably ensured the demise of that particular group. We're essentially at the stage where the Tasmanian Tiger was only known from a few examples in zoos and rumored sightings in the wild, until eventually all the zoo specimens had died too.

We're currently in the middle of what is probably the largest and quickest de-speciation "extinction event" the planet has ever known - something that makes the Permian extinction look like a non-event. From the timescale perspective of millions (or tens/hundreds of millions) of years this will only be an intersting point way back in history that our descendents (if our genetic lineagee survives that long) may ponder about, but on the human timescale of our own lifetime, and that of our children and grandchildren, it sure seems a shame to be taking such a giant shit in our own back yard.

mmmmBLAKMmmm!! (0, Offtopic)

fragbait (209346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475284)

mmmBLAKMMmmBLAKMmmBLAKMMMM!!!

*whirls through nearest tree*

-fragbait

Why are we even defending large predators? (2, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475320)

I'm sure a lot of environmentalists might be appalled, but, why are we trying to bring back or defend large predator species? Tigers eat people or eat things that people could eat, and they are faster and stronger than any naked man. Same can be said for lions, cheetahs, bears, gorillas, and more. We don't need -any- of these animals to be running around in any place except for on TV. It's just too dangerous! :-)

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23475754)

You do realize the Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Tasmanian Wolf, looked and acted a lot like a wild dog, and filled the same ecological niche?

It was a marsupial, not a big cat, and its diet probably consisted mainly of birds, possums, and various other small animals. It was most definitely not "faster and stronger than any naked man."

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (1)

Brown (36659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475780)

I guess you're at least partially jesting, but just in case anyone's interested:

Large predators (usually apex predators [wikipedia.org] ) play an important role in regulating ecosystems, by controlling the number of herbivores and/or smaller predators. As well as weeding out sick/weak individuals (whether this is a good thing or not depends on point of view), they act as feedback control. For example, an increase in (e.g.) gazelles results in an increase in (e.g.) lions, which in turn stops the increase in gazelles. This reduces damage from over-grazing etc. due to population explosions.

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476016)

Because its time for a little bit of thinning of the heard.

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (2, Funny)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476032)

I will take your advice... and never fight any Tasmanian Tigers while naked.

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476046)

There's an argument to be made for (re-)introducing predators to limit the numbers of destructive prey species. Scotland is currently considering re-introducing wolves to keep deer numbers down, for example. I wouldn't say that it's a strong argument, since the wolves will likely prefer something slower and dumber, like sheep or parking wardens, but it can be advanced.

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476096)

Tigers eat people or eat things that people could eat, and they are faster and stronger than any naked man. Same can be said for lions, cheetahs, bears, gorillas, and more.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorillas. emphasis mine:

Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-dwelling herbivores that inhabit the forests of Africa.

Re:Why are we even defending large predators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476514)



I bet if you were able to go back in time and tell a gathering of early man that in the future, there were no more tigers... they would hoot and applaud loudly.

And then if you told them that you found a way to bring them back and needed to get back to the future right away to start... they would club you.

Cloned marsupia (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475466)

I'm too lazy to google or read the article, but have they ever cloned a EXTANT marsupial? Marsupial have a very weird development scheme compared to placental mammals, which have been cloned successfully.

Tassie Tiger = next Ubuntu? (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475486)

With all the oddball names the folks at Ubuntu use, my first thought was they had named their next release and had kept in code that was on the chopping block.

Imagine my surprise. . .

Re:Tassie Tiger = next Ubuntu? (1)

vorlich (972710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475848)

Surely the next version is "Impudent Iguana", "Indolent Ibis" or "Itinerant Impala".
Quick, someone squat those domains.

Re:Tassie Tiger = next Ubuntu? (1)

trcooper (18794) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476010)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this had to do with an upcoming Ubuntu release. They should pencil it in for about 6 years from now.

Coming to theaters.... (2, Funny)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475574)

The Thylacine ate my baby!

Good thing (2, Insightful)

Raere (735369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475696)

I'm glad they're trying to bring back the 'Tassie'; it went extinct because of excessive hunting by humans. I believe that it's our responsibility to bring something back if we kill it off due to negligence. We had no hand in killing the dinosaurs however, so that's a different story. But we should try to right our wrongs in nature.

Re:Good thing (-1, Troll)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475900)

Exactly. Next we should resurrect the giant horses, giant sloths, giant tortoises, saber-tooth tigers, etc that roamed north and south America before humans came here. We can just raze all the cities, kick the humans off, and give back both continents to the long-dead animals we killed here. After that, it should be the giant flightless Moa birds of New Zealand, then the giant lemurs of Madagascar, and so on until every species we've killed is back and humans are confined to the plains of Africa.

Typo.....? (2, Funny)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475750)

"Robyn Williams discussing the results with the lead scientists".

-Please, oh please, let that be a misspelling of the Robin Williams I know.

Well it worked for Ripley (1)

vorlich (972710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475796)

on the basis of available research, I should imagine a couple of fair-haired celebrities are more likely to make a reappearance long before the Tasmanian Tiger does. After all it worked for Ripley... eventually.

Dumb Question (1)

ssdd534 (1083071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23475860)

So heres the thing. If the animal is extinct it was most likely due to the fact that we destroyed its habitat. So what is the point of bringing back an animal that we will only be able to put in zoos? Shame there is no gene to bring back habitats.

Resurrecting ancient extinct species... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476024)

...is as irresponsible as causing living ones to go extinct, and not because of Hollywood-style disasters. We have enough problems with foreign species overwhelming the native environment. Imagine some giant squid being resurrected and proceeding to eat all the modern fish in the ocean. Or a tasmanian tiger accidentally interbreeding with a normal one and the aggressive, man-eating hybrid becoming the dominant species. Besides, who is to say that the piece of DNA integrated into a mouse is not a dangerous retrovirus.

Until we show our ability to preserve healthy ecosystems populated with naturally surviving species, we shouldn't take on any more ecological responsibility than what we are already unable to handle.

Re:Resurrecting ancient extinct species... (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476170)

I think it's our responsibility, using genetic engineering, to create rapidly-breeding predatory animals and rapidly-mutating virii to ensure that the Earth will be rid of us once and for all.

Re:Resurrecting ancient extinct species... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23476626)

"Or a tasmanian tiger accidentally interbreeding with a normal one and the aggressive, man-eating hybrid becoming the dominant species."

I'd be careful, do you want to tell that aggressive, man eating hybrid that he was an accident? I mean that's going to be hell for the parents anyway.

Why not try and capture one first? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476138)

The entry on Wikipedia says that sightings, while rare, are still being reported. Would it not require INFINITELY less resources to simply go catch one and get genes from it???

I'm perplexed as to why this got the green light. Can anyone clue me in?

Don't believe the Wiki! (3, Informative)

Lucid_Loki (1250576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476834)

Only nuts say they've seen one. I think last reported 'sighting' was c. 1970s. Various expeditions have turned up nothing.

Southwest Tasmania though is home to one of the largest protected wilderness sites on Earth and it's possible that a small population has survived. Highly doubtful though.

If we brought some back there would theoretically be an ecosystem for them. However that ecosystem has evolved 80 years without them. Reintroduction could be very harmful.

A nice oddity in a large zoo enclosure and a triumph for marsupial DNA manipulation. That's about all you'd get from this.

Alternative headline (1)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476496)

Scientists genetically engineer bad-ass mouse.

Tassie/Devil hybrid (1)

jfenwick (961674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476574)

Apparently the closest relative to the Tassie is the Tasmanian Devil. They should try sticking the DNA into the Devil and see if that works out. I suppose that's not possible though, Tasmanian Devils are certainly not a standard model organism and getting the permission to use them would probably be difficult.

Has to be said.. (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476586)

You can listen to an MP3 of ABC Australia's Robyn Williams discussing the results with the lead scientists.
So is Australia's Robyn Williams funnier than the US Robin Williams [wikipedia.org] ?

It's Just Wrong... (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476604)

to use a mouse embryo to clone even part of a cat gene, you insensitive clods!

No ordinary mouse (1)

DieByWire (744043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23476952)

Well, that's no ordinary mouse.

Ohh.

That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!

Look, that mouse has got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

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