1 April 2004

It's back: Tassie tiger cloned

Scientists have caused a worldwide sensation after successfully cloning a Tasmanian tiger.

The extinct animal has been resurrected by the geneticists who created Dolly the sheep.

Already the female animal, which has been named Tassie, is being hailed as one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the past 100 years.

Using the cutting-edge technology, DNA was extracted from Tasmanian tiger bones to bring the animal back to life.

Tassie has come back from exctinction decades after the last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, died in captivity in Hobart in 1936.

Its existence has been kept a closely guarded secret until now.

Okay, you look at the 1 April dateline and move on. The Sydney Morning Herald does a better job with its report that:

Yum cha restaurants in Chinatown will now have to train workers who push food carts to pass a "driving licence" under new regulations from Sydney City Council.

The move comes after a spate of accidents in which novice or careless trolley-pushers have crashed carts, injuring or making a mess of patrons and co-workers.

In one case last year, an elderly customer at a large yum cha restaurant was covered in plates of sticky black bean sauce after a trolley waitress lost her load while she was text messaging on her mobile phone.

The weirdness about the Telegraph's thylacine story is that the Australian Museum (actually the NSW state museum, but I digress) is making a serious attempt to clone the thylacine:

After more than two years of ongoing cloning research, the Australian Museum has overcome a crucial obstacle in its continuing efforts to bring back to life the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

In May 2002 the Evolutionary Biology Unit at the Australian Museum in Sydney successfully replicated individual Tasmanian Tiger genes using a process known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). These new discoveries and the story of the Museum's ongoing efforts have been exclusively documented by the Discovery Channel in The End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger, premiering in 155 countries world-wide, including Australia, on July 7 at 7.30pm.

This remarkable journey which hopes to turn science fiction into science fact began in 1999 when the Australian Museum embarked on a never-before-attempted project to bring back an extinct species.

The last known Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, died in captivity in 1936, but a team of biologists believe the animal's extinction may simply be a 70-year hiccup.

Southerly Buster would like a cuddly diprotodon for the back yard, but fears that particular cloning still is a little way off. Southerly Buster also vigorously supports John Quiggin's fair and balanced call for the eating of chocolate bilbies at Easter.

Frankly, we'd support eating Bushies if chocolate ones were available.

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