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Australian Scientists Attempt to Bring Back an Extinct ‘Tiger’

By: Jaden Sun

Aussie scientists are bringing back an animal from extinction. This is how they are doing it.

The Tasmanian tiger was a carnivore that could open its jaw 90 degrees, had a pouch, and--as far as we remember--looked like a wolf with stripes on its back. According to the Australian Museum, the Tasmanian tiger, or Thylacine, went extinct in 1936.

The process of recreating this animal isn’t so simple, but it isn’t as complicated as you think. First, they took a gene from a Dunnart, a small rodent. At first glance, this tiny creature doesn’t look anything like the tiger. After all, how close is, a rat to a wolf? However, the Dunnart is the closest relative alive to the Tasmanian tiger. With a gene editing machine, they changed the genome of the Dunnart to the Thylacine gene, and then they put it into Dunnart sperm, so that the Dunnart mother will raise the Thylacine cub.

Now you may be thinking, how can a rat raise a wolf? Well, the reason why the Tasmanian tiger is so special is that it’s a marsupial, meaning they raise their cubs in a pouch. Now you may be thinking, so what? What makes this so that a Dunnart can raise a Thylacine? Well, baby marsupials are as tiny as jelly beans. Literally.

Finally, when the cub is grown up, they rinse and repeat until the Thylacine population would be substantial.

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