Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Extinct Australian Tiger gene functions in mouse

SYDNEY, May 20 (Reuters) - For the first time DNA from an extinct species, Australia's marsupial Tasmanian Tiger, has been used to induce a functional response in a living organism, a mouse embryo, Australian and American scientists said on Tuesday.

The scientists extracted DNA from a 100-year-old Tasmanian Tiger or thylacine, which had been preserved in ethanol in a museum, and injected it into a mouse embryo where it was "expressed" or produced in cartilage.

The results, published in the international scientific journal PLoS ONE, show that the thylacine Col2A1 gene had a similar function in developing cartilage and bone development as the Col2A1 gene in the mouse, said the scientists from the University of Melbourne and the University of Texas.

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