Genetics: Tiger-mice

    PLoS One 3, e2240 (2008)

    Credit: D. WATTS / ALAMY

    DNA from the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus, a marsupial) has been put to work inside mice, marking the first example of successful genetic transfer from an extinct species to a living one.

    Richard Behringer of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and his colleagues extracted DNA from a century-old Tasmanian tiger skin and three preserved pouch young held in the Museum Victoria in Melbourne. The researchers then took a regulatory part of the Tasmanian tiger's Col2a1 gene, which is involved in the development of bone and cartilage, and introduced this into the genomes of several mouse embryos. These modified mice grew up normally, with the inserted section of tiger-Col2a1 functioning in their developing skeletons.

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    Genetics: Tiger-mice. Nature 453, 566 (2008) doi:10.1038/453566d

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