Wednesday, April 10, 2013

how scientists cloned an embryo of extinct frog

The genome of an extinct Australian frog has been revived and reactivated by a team of scientists using sophisticated cloning technology to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from another frog species.

The bizarre gastric-brooding frog, — which uniquely swallowed its eggs, brooded its young in its stomach and gave birth through its mouth — became extinct in 1983.

But the Lazarus Project team has been able to recover cell nuclei from tissues collected in the 1970s and kept for 40 years in a conventional deep freezer. The “de-extinction” project aims to bring the frog back to life.

In repeated experiments over five years, the researchers used a laboratory technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer. They took fresh donor eggs from the distantly related Great Barred Frog, Mixophyes fasciolatus, inactivated the egg nuclei and replaced them with dead nuclei from the extinct frog. Some of the eggs spontaneously began to divide and grow to early embryo stage — a tiny ball of many living cells.

Although none of the embryos survived beyond a few days, genetic tests confirmed that the dividing cells contain the genetic material from the extinct frog. The results are yet to be published.


1 comment:

  1. Although it is amazing that scientists are now able to bring back extinct species, it poses some ethical problems. Should we bring back every extinct species we have DNA for? Should we bring back organisms from thousands of years ago? If so, what kind of effect will they have on our current ecosystems? Should we only bring back species which were killed off by humans? Should we bring back extinct species at all? Many behaviors of animals are taught. The species that is revived may not behave like they would have before extinction. I think that scientists should be very careful in which species they bring back to life and reintroduce to the environment. The ability to bring back an extinct organism with a cell nucleus opens many doors for scientists in this era.