That’s not a mouse, or is it?

5 07 2008

You’d think I’d be all chuffed about this research. A Tasmanian Tiger gene was put into a mouse embryo quite a while back now. It’s sexy, with extinct marsupials and genetics.

But it’s more a Holly Valance sexy than Nicole Kidman sexy. It’s all new and shiny and wow, and then you realise, it can’t sing, act, or dance.

According to the article:

The results, published in the international scientific journal PLoS ONE this week, showed that the thylacine Col2a1 gene has a similar function in developing cartilage and bone development as the Col2a1 gene does in the mouse.

But the University of Melbourne researchers say:

“As more and more species of animals become extinct, we are continuing to lose critical knowledge of gene function and their potential.”

Right. Critical knowledge, like thylacine gene acts the same as a mouse gene.

Okay. I’m being harsh. It is a little sexy. Looking at how extinct genes behave could turn out interesting. But inserting genes into mice isn’t news. And neither is sequencing genes from extinct animals. So combining the two just isn’t that exciting for me.

I am a bit curious though why they are using Mus musculus embryos, and not Monodelphis domestica – your friendly neighbourhood laboratory marsupial research subject.




One response

16 08 2008
Bill Clem

I think the Thylacine is an interesting animal extinct or not. If fact I’ve written a novel that tells of an ill fated attempt to ressurrect the animal on a deserted island with horrifying consequences. I call it Replica. Part fact part fiction. 100% fun read. See the trailer at

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