Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction

Tasmanian tiger from extinction

Scientists in Australia and the United States have launched a multi-million-dollar project to bring back the thylacine, a marsupial that became extinct in the 1930s and reintroduce it to its native Tasmania.

The thylacine

The thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger, is the second venture by Texas-based biotech “de-extinction” company Colossal, which announced last year that it was trying to recreate and return the woolly mammoth. Planned to use genetic engineering techniques. Arctic tundra

His new project is a partnership with the University of Melbourne, which earlier this year received a $5 million philanthropic gift to open a thylacine genetic restoration lab. The lab’s team has previously sequenced the genome of a juvenile specimen held by Museum Victoria, which its leader, Professor Andrew Pask, provided “a complete blueprint of how to make a thylacine.

Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction
Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction

The thylacine was Australia’s only marsupial apex predator. It once lived across the continent but was restricted to Tasmania around 3,000 years ago. It was officially declared extinct in the 1980s, despite hundreds of reports in the decades that followed, and some odd attempts to prove its continued existence.

More than 30 scientists worked Tasmanian tiger from extinction

More than 30 scientists worked to accelerate the “grand challenge” of bringing thylacine back from the dead.

Scientists aim to take stem cells from a living species with similar DNA, the fat-tailed deer, and turn them into “thylacine” cells — or as close as possible — to George Church, Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Colcell using gene-editing skills developed by a professor. New marsupial assisted reproductive technologies will be required to use stem cells to create an embryo, which will either be transferred into an artificial womb or a donor surrogate into the embryo.

Pask said the partnership was the most important contribution ever made to marsupial conservation in Australia as more than 30 scientists worked to accelerate the “huge challenge” of bringing the thylacine back from the dead. He believed that the first joey could be born in 10 years.

Read More An explosive new report could end more than a decade of Alzheimer’s research. How did this happen?

More than 15 years ago

More than 15 years ago, researchers at the University of Minnesota announced a breakthrough when they purified proteins from the brains of genetically engineered mice. and injected it into the mice, it made the mice I will develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Humans – First time someone directly linked a substance to disease. They called this protein Aβ*56.

Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction
Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction

The research has since been cited nearly 2,300 times and helped provide the basis for an important hypothesis about the cause of Alzheimer’s, a disease that currently affects about 6 in 10 people. Millions of Americans and their families. Proponents of the hypothesis believe that clumps of amyloid beta protein (Aβ) in people’s brains may be the root cause of Alzheimer’s. Since the Nature study showed that Aβ*56, one form of the protein, can cause dementia in mice, this seems to validate the hypothesis.

But now, the validity of the Nature paper has been questioned. As documented in an explosive report in Science published on July 21, whistleblower Matthew Schrag discovered evidence that some of the images at the center of the 2006 paper had been tampered with. As well as dozens of other images linked to one of the authors, University of Minnesota neuroscientist Sylvain Lesney.

Colossal’s chief executive and another co-founder, tech and software entrepreneur Ben Lam, was more enthusiastic, believing it was possible in less than six years, the time frame the company has set itself for mammoth calves. was set to produce the first set of “I think it’s very likely that this could be the first animal that we’ve wiped out,” Lam told the Guardian.

The challenges facing the project are significant,

The challenges facing the project are significant, and scientists acknowledge that several important steps must be taken to make it a success. Regarding reproductive technology, Pask said: “We are following marsupials growing from conception to birth in the test tube without a surrogate, given the short gestation period and small size of the infants. It’s understandable given that.”

If successful, the plan would be to introduce the animal into a controlled setting on private land in Tasmania with the ultimate goal of reintroducing it into the wild. Bringing back a top predator could help balance the state’s ecosystems, researchers said. But Pasik said he also hopes his work can have a broader impact in helping tackle the extinction crisis.

He said that the world is working hard to save many endangered species Conservation techniques are changing rapidly, reflecting the devastating impact bushfires are having on Australian wildlife. “We don’t have a choice. I mean, if we lose 50 percent of the biodiversity on Earth in the next 50 to 100 years, it will lead to our extinction.

Even if you could do it – and I doubt it – how do you create thousands of individuals with enough genetic variation?”

By sequencing the genomes of 80 to 100 individuals, the team hopes to address concerns about the genetic health of the species — a problem with endangered populations, and that dealing with genetic diversity, he said. The challenges were “relatively straightforward”. faced research.

Corey Bradshaw, professor of global ecology at Flinders University, believes it is unlikely to succeed.

Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction
Scientists must save the Tasmanian tiger from extinction

Eoin Ritchie, professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at Deakin University, said other outstanding questions included whether the project could do more than existing conservation genetics to help endangered species. He said it would be a “huge challenge” to transform a lab-created animal into a wild population, but financial support for dead-end research should not be seen as a “zero-sum game”.

why not? If we’re talking about genetics The more you know that can be used to protect existing species, the better.

Schrag, a neuroscientist, and physician at Vanderbilt University brought the questionable images to the attention of science reporter Charles Piller last year. Schrag originally saw Lesné’s work on PubPeer, a website where people can anonymously discuss scientific topics. He found frequent examples of such interference, particularly with Western blot images used to identify proteins. Next, Schrag looked at the 2006 paper—and found more evidence of possible manipulation. To be clear: without access to the original research, published images alone are not evidence of fraud. And Schrag “doesn’t claim to prove malpractice,” Piller notes. But Schrag’s findings, which Piller ran with several leading Alzheimer’s researchers, raise serious questions about one of the field’s most influential studies and others based on it.

Nature published an editor’s Tasmanian tiger from extinction

On July 14, Nature published an editor’s note on its 2006 study, stating that it plans to investigate “concerns regarding some of the data in this paper.” The study’s senior author, Karen Ashe, recently called for it to be retracted, “citing that confidence in [the study] has been undermined,” CNBC reports. (When I reached out to Ashe for comment, she told me that she maintains “full confidence” in the team’s research on Aβ*56. “While the editing of selected images should not have occurred, the adjustments were immaterial, Unnecessary, and has no bearing on the results of the research itself,”

It was chosen 1) because it was from the most important Nature paper, and 2) because it provided an opportunity to show a particular technique that Schrag used that is incredibly compelling. The imaging technique of Western blots appears as a series of stacked bands. And Schrag was able to go inside and examine two sets of bands that were adjacent to each other in the photo. Through digital imaging methods, he was able to align them and color them in such a way that you could overlay the bands and see which parts were the same. And it turns out that some of these bands were almost completely identical – suggesting that these bands were cloned. So if the band was duplicated, what were the implications? How does this change the meaning of the image?

We’ve seen every possible manipulation proof you can find. In some cases, this suggests that a protein was present when it wasn’t.

This is important for a few reasons. If you change the order, it raises questions about whether the assumption holds. Sat is, as described. Secondly, if someone is doing something that appears to be an example of potential misconduct in even one element of an experiment, can you trust anything in it?

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