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Scientists Plan to Revive Extinct Dodo

It was revealed last Tuesday that scientists plan to revive the Dodo, a flightless bird that went extinct in the 17th century due to humans, as part of an avian de-extinction project.

The Dodo was endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. They were hunted out of extinction in less than 100 years by Dutch settlers who first arrived in 1598.

Those settlers, and ones that came later, brought invasive species such as pigs, rats, goats, macaques and deer.

Sailors found an easy meal in adult dodo birds, as their docile nature and lack of fear made them approachable. Black rats in particular posed a problem for Dodo eggs especially because they only laid one egg per year.

It’s been 361 years since the dodo was announced to be extinct, between 1662 and 1690.

Now, bioscientists hope to resurrect this long-gone bird through gene editing which has made significant advancements in the last few decades.

The company Colossal Biosciences was founded in September 2021 by Harvard geneticist George Church and tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm. To date the company has raised $225 million in funding since it launched.

Of that, Colossal Biosciences has poured $150 million into the new project, which is not in fact their only project focused on de-extinction.

The company also plans to resurrect other species including the Woolly Mammoth and the thylacine, more commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger.

 “Through technological and engineering breakthroughs in biosciences and genetics, Colossal is accepting humanity’s duty to restore Earth to a healthier state, while also solving for the future economies and biological necessities of the human condition” reads their website’s mission statement.

Colossal’s avian project will use the Dodo’s closest living relative, the Nicobar pigeon, as a genetic template to grow wild bird primordial germ cells (PGCs) and the process will make use of interspecies surrogacy.

“To speed up production of the Dodo, we will work to advance the state of the art in avian reproduction by demonstrating interspecies germline transfer of pigeon PGCs into a surrogate chicken host.”

They hope to one day reintroduce the dodo back into the wild. However, it is not an easy process to revive extinct species and although many breakthroughs have been made in the field of gene editing, it could be a while before we see these creatures brought back to life.

These projects are crucial for trying to not only resurrect dead species but to potentially help save and preserve existing endangered species.

Nevertheless, the company is excited to announce the funding of this new project with CEO and co-founder Ben Lamm posting on Linkedin “Let's make extinction a thing of the past.


We are excited to leverage this round of funding to expand our effects on de-extinction while developing critical technologies for species preservation and human healthcare.”

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