Home > DNA in the News > Resurrecting the DNA of Extinct Animals

Resurrecting the DNA of Extinct Animals

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 21 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Dna Extinct Extinction Animal Tasmanian

It's almost a surreal experience to contemplate extinct animals such as dinosaurs and many others that roamed the Earth long before our time. Yet, is extinct really forever? In the case of a recent study, perhaps not.

DNA and Extinction

Scientists conducted an experiment that allowed them to make use of the DNA of an extinct animal. While it certainly wasn't the genetic material of the well-publicised dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, it did still involve a rather robust animal that roamed the Earth on a much more recent basis during the previous century.

The research has particularly important implications because it triggers the question of whether extinction truly is absolute. In a sense, it could cause us to have to evaluate our approach to extinction and consider the ethics and other issues that may play a role when an extinct animal is resurrected.

Tasmanian Tiger

Researchers wanted to investigate if the DNA from an extinct animal could still be used in a live organism for therapeutic benefit. The experiment was one that had never been done before but it did prove successful. It will likely also prompt further research into the use of DNA from extinct animals, assuming the genetic material has been well-preserved and is sufficiently accessible as well.

They isolated genetic information from the Tasmanian tiger, which became extinct seventy years ago. Then, they inserted it into mouse embryos, where it contributed to the development of cartilage and eventually, bone. The research is particularly groundbreaking because it is the first time that an extinct species has been used in a DNA experiment to trigger a physiological response in a different living organism.

Cloning Extinct Species

An issue with animal extinction is that as we lose more species of animals, we also lose important information of how their genes work as well as the animal's potential in science. Some researchers have stated that the Tasmanian tiger should be resurrected by using cloning technology but other scientists disagree, citing that the DNA of the tiger is probably not preserved to the extent that it will provide the necessary quality for cloning.

While the Tasmanian tiger did become extinct, some specimens were kept and then used in this recent experiment. After the DNA of the tiger was inserted into the mouse embryos, the DNA was essentially 'turned on' and supported the production of cartilage, which is part of the process for bone formation.

Using the DNA of Extinct Species

The study is an important one for indicating how an extinct animal may potentially be resurrected in the future. As more and more animals become extinct due to a wide range of factors – environmental or caused by humans – we are rapidly missing out on the ability to access important genetic information that can yield clues about a number of scientific areas.

Although the concept of 'resurrecting' an extinct animal has garnered some criticism from the scientific community and the public, researchers in the study hope that the experiment highlights the potential for accessing DNA in an extinct animal and using it to benefit humans and scientific knowledge.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Very interesting and very helpful
Coolio - 30-Mar-11 @ 9:50 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Carol
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Hi , I was alway told about my dad and that he had another daughter and son younger than me , I have recently been in touch with my so called…
    12 August 2018
  • Vivi
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My father died in 1993 and was buried never knowing who his father was. We have endlessly tried to find out but can’t. No way. Is there a…
    5 August 2018
  • Apache
    Re: DNA and Oxidative Damage
    I am a 54 year old white female. When I was 16 years old again when I was 20 years old I took Accutane. I have DNA damage due to the…
    23 July 2018
  • JohnDavid18
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    150 years later and there is NO mechansim for evolution. Natural Selection is NOT a mechanism. They cannot locate a SINGLE mechanism that CAUSES,…
    18 July 2018
  • Sin
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Hi, My uncle died over 20 years ago. I found out 15 years ago that my best friends brother in law was raising a child, that was supposedly…
    15 July 2018
  • Douchkniexeye
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    This was awesome fun to read! Good information! Loved it!
    14 July 2018
  • Squibbs
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    After his death in 1965, my friend discovered that the father who loved and raised her had been living under an alias. No trace of him is to…
    10 July 2018
  • Sean McCleary
    Re: Non-Coding DNA in Humans
    Hello, my name is Sean McCleary. I am going through a very powerful experience and have been for the last 7 years and it's increasing.…
    9 July 2018
  • duck
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I need to know if the ashes I have are my husband, because the ashes I that was given to me smell something awful, so I would like to talk to…
    8 July 2018
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Minisol - Your Question:Hi I know this is probably a weird request but I was wondering if anyone could tell me with this matter I was…
    2 July 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreDNA website. Please read our Disclaimer.