Journal article

Genome of the Tasmanian tiger provides insights into the evolution and demography of an extinct marsupial carnivore

Charles Y Feigin, Axel H Newton, Liliya Doronina, Juergen Schmitz, Christy A Hipsley, Kieren J Mitchell, Graham Gower, Bastien Llamas, Julien Soubrier, Thomas N Heider, Brandon R Menzies, Alan Cooper, Rachel J O'Neill, Andrew J Pask



The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the largest carnivorous Australian marsupial to survive into the modern era. Despite last sharing a common ancestor with the eutherian canids ~160 million years ago, their phenotypic resemblance is considered the most striking example of convergent evolution in mammals. The last known thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and many aspects of the evolutionary history of this unique marsupial apex predator remain unknown. Here we have sequenced the genome of a preserved thylacine pouch young specimen to clarify the phylogenetic position of the thylacine within the carnivorous marsupials, reconstruct its historical demography and exam..

View full abstract


Awarded by NSF

Awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Awarded by Sequence Read Archive as BioProject

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank K. Rowe, K. Roberts and K. Date from Museums Victoria for access to samples; K. Simon-Menasse, C. Lawrence and P. Mawson from the Perth Zoo for numbat tissue; T. Macrini, J. Berlin, T. Rowe and J. Maisano from (NSF grants IIS-987478422, 0208675 and DEB-0309369) for access to deposited marsupial CT data; J. Black from the Trace Analysis for Chemical, Earth and Environmental Sciences (TrACEES) platform from the Melbourne Collaborative Infrastructure Research Program at the School of Earth Sciences (University of Melbourne) for operating the micro-CT scanner and processing data; K. Medlock from Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for access to thylacine photographs; Z. Zou for providing the script to implement the JTT-Fsite model; and the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative and Bernard Meade from the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project for providing access to computing resources. J. Schmitz and L.D. were supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SCHM1469/3-2 and 10-1). A. P. and A. C. were supported by Australian Research Council Fellowships. Genome sequence reads have been deposited in the Sequence Read Archive as BioProject PRJNA354646, BioSample SAMN06049672. We thank the Molecular Paleobiology of Australia's Terrestrial Vertebrates (Melbourne 2016) conference for facilitating collaborations. We thank J. Baldur Hlidberg for the animal paintings in Fig. 2a and Supplementary Fig. 4.