One of the things I recall most back from when I watched Jurassic Park is that the explanation about how they brought the dinosaurs back actually sounded plausible (which is, in my opinion, the difference between good and bad scifi). Indeed, it was so plausible that apparently someone took it seriously enough to try.

There’s this “Lazarus project” in the australian University of New South Wales where scientists have reported to bring back from extinction a weird gastric-brooding frog that was a goner since 1983:


Apparently, Adelaide frog researcher Mike Tyler froze some specimens before they vanished that have been used to bring one back using the same cloning technology that science applies to still-living animals. Basically, they took eggs from a distant cousin living frog (great barred frog), deactivated the original DNA with UV light, and inserted the extinct frog’s DNA into the eggs. Don’t get your hopes too high! The eggs became embryos, but they died shortly later, not before it was confirmed that they were actually gastric-brooding frog embryos and not great barred frog ones. Scientist claim that they expect to bring the frog back soon.

It needs to be noted that cloning of extinct animals started with the Pyrenean ibex, but DNA from the species was actually extracted from a living one before they went extinct, rather than from frozen samples. Too bad the clone ibex died shortly after its birth. If there are still valid samples, maybe they can have another try with these too!


The next big question would be: how many sources of valid DNA can we find out there?

Source IO9


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