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Genetic sameness could be factor in Tasmanian tiger extinction

First complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct animal suggests genetics left species vulnerable to disease

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5:03pm, January 12, 2009

Tasmanian tigers, also known as thylacines, had dangerously low genetic diversity decades before disease and human hunting drove them extinct, an analysis of the first complete mitochondrial genomes from the extinct marsupials reveals.

An international group of scientists used powerful new technology to decode mitochondrial and some nuclear DNA from two thylacine museum specimens. The researchers report their findings online January 13 in Genome Research.

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