Lost frog DNA revived: Lazarus Project

Posted By News On March 15, 2013 - 4:30pm
Lost frog DNA revived: Lazarus Project

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, Rheobatrachus silus – 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.

A Southern Gastric-brooding Frog, Rheobatrachus silus, giving birth in its mountain rainforest habitat in Queensland. The frog in the foreground is another frog that has also gone extinct in the same area, the Southern Day Frog, Taudactylus diurnus. The crayfish is Euastacus hystricosus, an endangered crustacean.

(Photo Credit: Artwork: Peter Schouten)

The results are yet to be published.

"We are watching Lazarus arise from the dead, step by exciting step," says the leader of the Lazarus Project team, Professor Mike Archer, of the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. "We've reactivated dead cells into living ones and revived the extinct frog's genome in the process. Now we have fresh cryo-preserved cells of the extinct frog to use in future cloning experiments.

"We're increasingly confident that the hurdles ahead are technological and not biological and that we will succeed. Importantly, we've demonstrated already the great promise this technology has as a conservation tool when hundreds of the world's amphibian species are in catastrophic decline."

The technical work was led by Dr Andrew French and Dr Jitong Guo, formerly of Monash University, in a University of Newcastle laboratory led by frog expert, Professor Michael Mahony, along with Mr Simon Clulow and Dr John Clulow. The frozen specimens were preserved and provided by Professor Mike Tyler, of the University of Adelaide, who extensively studied both species of gastric-brooding frog – R. silus and R. vitellinus - before they vanished in the wild in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

A whole frozen gastric-brooding frog after 40 years in a conventional freezer.

(Photo Credit: Photo: Bob Beale)

UNSW's Professor Archer spoke publicly for the first time today about the Lazarus Project and also about his ongoing interest in cloning the extinct Australian thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, at the TEDx DeExtinction event in Washington DC, hosted by Revive and Restore and the National Geographic Society.

Researchers from around the world are gathered there to discuss progress and plans to 'de-extinct' other extinct animals and plants. Possible candidate species include the woolly mammoth, dodo, Cuban red macaw and New Zealand's giant moa.

A gastric-brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus, giving oral birth in the lab of Mike Tyler of the University of Adelaide.

(Photo Credit: Photo: Mike Tyler, University of Adelaide)

Science just don't get it . Life came about by a supernatrual miracle and not by any kind of any acident.One doesn't have to be an Albert Einstein to figuer out that life can only come from life.Once somthing is dead it will stay dead forever, unless God decides other wise. In the begining only God had life so life could only come from God himself, so wether life is human ,animal, fish, or bird, or plant, or whatever else that has life in it, it's life came from God himself, and when any living thing dies it's life goes back to God, and God will not allow any human being "now or ever" to give life back to what has died . Also the bible reveals very clearly that our life doesn't belong to us, but it is a loan from God and whene we die our life goes back to him . What i have written is nothing to do with religion it is fact, God is not a religion, religions are created by humans, and no human has or can create God. religion comes in many forms including science.And for those that doesn't realise or believe that some science is just aother form of religion, then they should take notice of a once upon a time very clever dude, called "L Ron Hubbard" who recocnised science as another form religion made millions out of the religion of science by starting off the church of scientology ."[ Another very clear proof that religions are man made }" But Ron too is dead so why doesn't science try and bring L Ron Hubbard back to life instead of the frog the chances off sucsess are the same.

You are so ignorant. I don't know where to begin.

Thank you Benson for an extremely illiterate, untrue, pointless, contradictory response.

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