Scientists try to bring Australia’s thylacine back

The project is a collaboration with the US-based Colossal Biosciences, founded by tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church, who is also working on a $15 million project to “de-extinct” the woolly mammoth in an altered form.

“Andrew and his lab have made tremendous advances in marsupial research, gestation, thylacine imaging, and tissue sampling. Colossal is excited to provide the necessary genetic editing technology and computational biology to bring this project, and the thylacine, to life. It’s an incredible collaboration and project with far-reaching benefits for animal conservation efforts at large,” Church told The Independent.

'Jurassic Park'? Scientists want to resurrect Australia's Tasmanian tiger

A Tasmanian tiger/thylacine

Sequencing the thylacine genome: A breakthrough

Thylacinus cynocephalus or thylacine, in short, was a relatively shy and nocturnal animal, with the general appearance of a medium-to-large-size canid, except for its stiff tail and abdominal pouch similar to that of a kangaroo. Though the species was largely extinct on the Australian mainland by around 2,000 years ago, it had survived in Tasmania. But, being an apex predator didn’t go down well for humans.

In the 1800s, European settlers on the island blamed the animal for livestock losses and hunted them to the point of extinction. The last thylacine, named Benjamin, died from exposure in 1936 at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania.

Now, resurrecting the Tasmanian tiger is no mean feat. It involves several complicated steps that rely on the latest technology.

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