Scientists Work to Clone Extinct Tasmanian Tiger



The Tasmanian Tiger of Australia has been extinct for for 70 years now. But scientists are hoping to bring the animal back to life through the science of cloning.

Clones have already been made of many other mammals - sheep, cows, and much more. From its beginning with Dolly the Sheep, scientists have expanded their knowledge of the cloning technique to apply it to other types of animals.

But so far, all cloning has been done with a live parent. With the Tasmanian Tiger, that could not be possible - the last Tasmanian Tiger was seen back in 1936 and died in captivity. The animals were hunted out of existence because of their tendency to dine on local livestock.

The scientists have DNA from a Tiger baby that was preserved in alcohol back in 1866. Unfortunately all they have been able to get so far are DNA "pieces" - now they face the tough task of figuring out how to assemble them properly. The plan is to then insert the DNA into a similar creature - maybe a Tazmanian Devil - to bear the new young baby tiger.

Many worry that the tiger died out in the first place for a reason - it was not wanted by the locals. If new tigers were actually created and put back into their native environment, wouldn't the locals simply have the same reaction and kill it off again? Or this time around, would they try to find a different way to live in harmony with their livestock-consuming neighbor? Also, with no parents to teach the tiger how to behave and live, and no den-mates with which to grow, learn and interact, just how much of a "tiger" will this creature really be?



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