Tiger cloning experiment revived
A key player in the plan to clone the Tasmanian Tiger from DNA recovered from museum specimens says the project is back on track.
The bold plans hatched in 1999 by scientists at the Australian Museum, in Sydney, to bring the thylacine back to life were abandoned earlier this year when researchers said the DNA they had recovered was too poor in quality.
Now, the museum’s former director has told Guardian Unlimited that a team of Australian and US researchers were restarting the project and hoped to use new techniques that could lead to the sequencing of the entire thylacine genome.
Professor Mike Archer, now Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales, said DNA recovered from bones and teeth in Australian museum collections had proved to be promising. He is pictured above with thylacine skeleton and a pickled foetus. [Photograph: Torsten Blackwood/EPA]
“We’ve undoubtedly got the whole of the genome in the recovered DNA, although there’s thousands more genes than we’ve been able to recover so far,” he said.
Last year, Mr Archer held discussions on the project with the US genome expert Craig Venter, whose DNA sequencing techniques spurred the race to decode the human genome in 1999.