by Christopher Freeburn | March 18, 2013 11:09 am
Australian scientists have successfully cloned the genome of an extinct frog, the first step toward potentially reviving a species that had been thought gone for good.
A native of Australia’s rain forests, Rheobatrachus silus, known as the gastric-brooding frog, disappeared under the pressure of disease and encroaching civilization about 30 years ago. Scientists used DNA from a preserved sample of one of the frogs to produce a clone using an egg from a similar living frog species, the Guardian notes.
No frogs were actually produced by the team. The embryos lasted only a few days before dying. However, the research yielded fresh DNA samples to use in future cloning attempts.
Gastric-brooding frogs were noted for the unusual trait of giving birth through their mouths.
The research brings up possibilities first touched on in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, in which scientists cloned dinosaurs from DNA samples preserved in amber to populate a theme park.
That fictional effort did not end well. Though few expected the gastric-brooding frogs to eat anyone or terrorize children, should they ever be revived in quantity.
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