A group of Australian scientists are hoping to bring Tasmanian tigers back from extinction, just like they did in the movies.
While they don’t have a mosquito preserved perfectly in an egg of amber resin, scientists at the University of Melbourne are using DNA preserved from Tasmanian tigers to create an embryo that they’re hoping will grow inside a surrogate uterus.
The research will take place in a new facility within the University of Melbourne called the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Lab.
TIGRR will use its abundance of fancy equipment to research a host of endangered species, but the labs main focus will be bringing Tasmanian tigers back from the dead.
“The Tasmanian habitat has remained largely unchanged, providing the perfect environment to re-introduce the thylacine and it is very likely its reintroduction would be beneficial for the whole ecosystem,” said Professor Andrew Pask, the lead researcher at the facility.
“One of our biggest breakthroughs was sequencing the thylacine genome, providing a complete blueprint on how to essentially build a thylacine.”
Russell Wilson – the old rich dude who funded the research centre – came across Pask’s “incredible work,” during his daily YouTube sesh.
Tasmanian tigers have been extinct for 86 years after the species was hunted to extinction by European settlers.
“Humans were responsible for wiping (thylacines) out and we can now apply technology to bring those animals back, which is just an amazing feat of science.”
The last remaining thylacine, Benjamin, died in captivity in 1936, although there are plenty of people who will tell you they’ve seen them since.