The flightless dodo bird, native to the island of Mauritius and symbol of man-made extinction, may not be the dummy you think it is. The bird, which was once abundant on the island, became extinct in the late 17th century due to overhunting and habitat destruction by Dutch settlers – not because it was stupid. Today, the dodo bird remains a glaring example of the price of carelessness and the need for conservation efforts.
Colossal, the biosciences company behind an effort to bring the dodo back, is shining a light on the importance of restoring species that have been lost to extinction. With this in mind, Colossal have partnered with the government of Mauritius to establish a foundation for the de-extinction and rewilding of the beloved bird. Basically, Colossal have partnered with the local government to build a safe, kid-friendly version of Jurassic Park.
However, there are challenges. Bringing the dodo back from extinction requires a reliable reference genome. To address this, Colossal intends to create high-quality avian genomes that can be used for multi-genome alignments, comparative analysis, and phenotype predictions that will guide the genome editing process. Remember how they used frog DNA in Jurassic Park to complete the genome sequence for the dinosaurs? Yes, life truly does imitate art. Their approach will involve ‘broad screening’ to optimize the growth parameters of the Nicobar pigeon's germ cells, which will serve as the host cells/genome for engineering. Frogs.
In addition to the reference genome, Colossal will work to advance avian reproduction by demonstrating interspecies germline transfer of pigeon germ cells into surrogate chickens. This will enable the company to produce the Dodo much faster. In short, they will have chickens laying dodo eggs… They will also use machine learning to create more efficient editing tools that can shorten the timeline for success. Lastly, Colossal will work to improve multiplex genome editing for higher throughput engineering and the pursuit of more distantly related species de-extinctions. We think this means they will try to recreate the island as it was before the Dutch settlers arrives and wiped the bird out in the first place. Scientists, leave your take in the comments.
The goal of Colossal is to use the dodo as a beacon of hope for other conservation efforts. They believe that the revival of the dodo will be an inspiration and a testament to the power of science and technology to bring species back from the brink of extinction. And presumably, to help sell tickets to “Dodo Park”.
The revival of the dodo bird is a complex and challenging task, but Colossal is pushing the ball forward. They have partnered with the island Mauritius to establish a foundation for the de-extinction and rewilding of that dumb ‘ol bird we all love so much. With a reliable reference genome, advances in avian reproduction, and machine learning, Colossal believes it can bring the dodo back from extinction and establish a trend for the development and rewilding of other species.
Source : Colossal.com
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