The Loh Down On Science

Scientists resurrect an extinct species

ANT Photo Library/Science Source

Jurassic Park—it's not just a movie anymore!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Consider the gastric-brooding frog.  You'll love the unique way it reproduces.  After its eggs are fertilized, the female swallows them whole.  Later, when the eggs hatch, mom vomits them up.  No wonder it became extinct thirty years ago.  But wait—it’s poised for a comeback.

See—forty years ago, biologists froze gastric-breeding frog cells.  Now, Australian mad scientists have thawed them as part of something called the “Lazarus Project.” In effect, it’s about raising extinct species from the dead.

They took live eggs from a related frog.  Then they replaced those eggs' nuclei, which house DNA, with the gastric-brooding frog’s nuclei.  Many of the eggs matured into embryos that were genetic matches of their extinct ancestors!

None of the embryos survived, but this may be the first step towards resurrecting extinct species.  

And anyone who’s seen Jurassic Park knows how smoothly that project could go.  They’ll just need to clone Jeff Goldblum.

*****
For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Follow us on Twitter!


blog comments powered by Disqus