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Re: Thylacine Cloning Press Release

The only way they are going to be able to clone one of these tigers is with complete chromosomes taken from the original pups, and they do indeed have one in an alcohol-filled jar (great DNA preservative). It needs to be looked at for errors and compared to the originals in other chromosomes taken (most being not broken and from the same region, which would let you assume they have been taken in their original form) and then patched with DNA polymerased fills with scaffolding proteins and histones and anything else added to copy templates of the non-broken versions.

The thing is, DNA is read from a format that has a series of keys tied to it in the form of proteins and must be wound in this manner so that it can be unwounded in the same way for reading purposes. If it is not, the data cannot be read and it sort of becomes music without timing. It is sort of like writing the sentence like this; "itissortoflikewritingthesentancelikethis". Without the grammar and spacing it cannot be read and even if we try to guess at where the promoter sites are or where all the histone should go we could be wrong. There is for example, many mutated old promoter site we could think were active and actually are not. Sites that look like other sites could be mutated by tautomeric shifts, by decay time, or via influence of the preservatives.

Their best bet is to use comparative chromosome matching and repairing, and use as few fills as possible. It is true that some breaks could be huge and cause no effect on the organism, but a single point mutation can also stop its development dead. So, they are still gambling big time.

I tend to think all of this puts a significant damper on trying to clone a non-avian dinosaur, even if you are talking about back-engineering a modern bird.