"Even if we hadn't hunted it to extinction, our analysis showed that the thylacine was in very poor [genetic] health", Pask said.
There have been a number of sightings of Tasmanian tigers since the last one died in captivity 79 years ago.
The Tasmanian Tiger officially became extinct in 1986, despite the death of the last known thylacine in Hobart Zoo in 1936. The species was declared extinct in 1982.
Researchers now believe that the need to hunt led the Tasmanian tiger to transform its appearance to look similar to the wolf over the past 160 million years.
"Our hope is that there is a lot the thylacine can tell us about the genetic basis of extinction to help other species", Andrew Pask, a biologist at the University of Melbourne and the study's co-author, said in a statement, adding that the research would one day help scientists clone the Tasmanian tiger and bring it back from extinction.
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Although the Tasmanian tiger evolved to look so similar to the dog-like dingo, scientists found that the genetics of the animal was more closely related to fellow Australian marsupial called the Tasmanian devil.
In 2008, Pask's team was the first to take genetic material from an extinct species and make it function inside a living one, inserting thylacine DNA involved in bone and cartilage development into mouse embryos.
This is not the first time that experts generate a genetic sequence from the thylacine.
Now, a new sequencing of the nuclear DNA of a single thylacine specimen - a tiny pup preserved in a jar of alcohol for a century - has shed some new light on how the animals declined and disappeared, as described in in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. "They look just like a dog or wolf, but they're a marsupial". "But what we found is that the population declined about 70,000 years ago, long before it was isolated meaning it probably had more to do with changes in the climate back then".
Scientists are confident there are no Tasmanian tigers left - but for how long? "The population today would be very susceptible to diseases, and would not be very healthy".
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The thylacine lived isolated between the regions of New Guinea and Tasmania since around 10,000 to 13,000 years ago.
The tiger's newly sequenced genome is one of the most complete genetic maps compiled by scientists. "There was nothing else like them in the world at the time", one of the researchers, Charles Feigin of the University of Melbourne, Australia, explains.
Mike Archer, a paleontologist and expert on de-extinction at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, led a pioneering project that explored thylacine cloning in the early 2000s, and in 2013, his team succeeded in cloning embryos of another extinct species, the gastric brooding frog. "It's very much like the Tasmanian devil in that respect and we've always thought that happened once it became isolated on Tasmania between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. We can not bring it back", Shapiro says. "But you never know how fast some of these technologies will develop".
The Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cenophalus) was a unique creature: a predatory marsupial, it had tiger-like stripes on its back and otherwise resembled members of the worldwide dog family, despite its relative isolation in Australia and especially on the island of Tasmania.
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