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article imageTasmanian Tiger DNA clue to extinction

By Richard van der Draay     Jan 13, 2009 in Science
DNA research suggest that the Tasmanian Tiger, last seen seventy years ago, may have become too inbred to survive as a species.
The research rested on DNA taken from the hair of two extinct specimens of the Australian marsupial.
The research involved was similar to that used to study the DNA from extinct woolly mammoths’ hair. The Tasmanian Tiger is formally known as Thylacine. There are suggestions that this type of DNA research may result in resurrecting one or two of the extinct animals.
A spokesperson for the international study said that the goal was to learn how to prevent endangered species from going extinct.
The two specimens are amazingly similar and there is very little genetic variation between them. Species with little genetic diversity are at risk of extinction, as is the case with the modern-day cheetah.
The Tiger or Thylacine was a striped marsupial that closely resembled a dog. Marsupials are mammals that carry their newborn young in a pouch rather than in the womb. Marsupials are especially common in Australia.
More about Tasmanian tiger, Thylacine, Extinction
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