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Thylacine Cloning Press Release

Excuse the cross-posting. For those who were interested:

> *All information strictly embargoed until 10.00AM, May 28, 2002
> 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 End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger,
> premiering in 155 countries world-wide, including Australia, on July 7 at
> 7.30pm.
> The latest breakthrough in the cloning project and a preview of select footage
> from Discovery Channel?s film will be unveiled today at a Press Conference
> from
> 9.30am, May 28th 2002 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Restaurant in Sydney.
> 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.
> In 1999 DNA was successfully extracted from an ethanol preserved Tasmanian
> Tiger pup sample.  Additional DNA has been extracted from two other individual
> pups in 2001.  These other tissue sources included bone, tooth, bone marrow
> and dried muscle.
> The most significant breakthrough to date has been the replication of
> individual
> Tasmanian Tiger genes using the PCR process. These PCR?s show that short
> fragments of the DNA are undamaged and undoubtedly Tasmanian Tiger DNA,
> and that there is no reason why these should not work in a living cell.
> ?The Australian Museum is absolutely delighted with yet another major
> breakthrough in the cloning project,? said Professor Mike Archer, Director of
> the
> Australian Museum.  ?This technique was an extremely critical step in
> producing sufficient amounts of Tasmanian Tiger DNA to proceed with the
> research and extremely good news for future steps in accomplishing this
> project.?
> The next stage is to make large quantity copies of all the genes of the
> Tasmanian Tiger so these can be used to construct synthetic chromosomes.
> ?What Professor Mike Archer and his team are attempting is as scientifically
> exciting and technically challenging as splitting the atom or landing a man on
> the moon,? said James Gibbons, Vice President Programming, Discovery
> Networks Asia.  ?We are excited to capture this amazing story, bringing the
> Tasmanian Tiger back to life on television screens around the world.?
> The groundbreaking Discovery Channel film traces the remarkable efforts of
> scientists at the Australian Museum and features never before seen footage of
> a Tasmanian Tiger as well as state-of-the-art computer generated imagery (CGI)
> and animatronic technology.  The film also includes exclusive footage of the
> extraction of Tasmanian Tiger tissue, the processing of the DNA and the next
> steps of the genetic engineering which could make cloning the Tasmanian Tiger
> a reality.
> Press Conference: Enter the Royal Botanic Gardens via Henry Lawson Gate,
> on Mrs Macquaries Road, follow signs to Palm Grove Centre.  High res images
> and Electronic Press Kit available.
> Heidi DeWald, Australian Museum, 02 9320 6181 or 0419 376 736
> Karen Eck, eckfactor for Discovery Channel, 0438 532 569
> ======================
> Guillaume Chapron
> PhD student
> Laboratoire d'Ecologie CNRS
> Ecole Normale Supérieure
> 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cedex 05
> France
> E: carnivorecology@ifrance.com
> Visit the Carnivore Conservation Portal:
> http://www.carnivoreconservation.org
> ======================
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