Scientists Hard At Work To Resurrect Long-Extinct Species

A genetics business worth a billion dollars, Colossal Biosciences, has announced its collaboration with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the island nation’s government to reintroduce the dodo to its native East Africa.

Colossal Biosciences’ principal paleo-geneticist, Beth Shapiro, had already sequenced the bird’s genome, and now the business plans to sequence the whole genome using genomic editing technologies. Interspecies surrogacy, with genetically engineered chickens in particular, is the method they plan to create the dodo again.

Hybrid primordial germ cells (PGCs) from a dodo could theoretically be implanted into an embryo of a chicken, increasing the likelihood that the future generation would look like the long-gone bird.

The success and sustainability of the dodo upon its return to the wild depends on the models for long-term management that the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation will develop.

Researchers throughout the globe are attempting to resurrect the past using ice-capsulated cells. The area of resurrection biology has made tremendous strides in the last year as scientists look to the past for answers about the future.

Scientists working on these resurrections keep their fingers crossed that analyzing these ancient cells may lead them to novel medicinal compounds or strategies to combat harmful, latent diseases.

Jean-Michel Claverie, a retired professor of genomics and medicine at France’s Aix-Marseille University School of Medicine in Marseille, has been looking for “zombie viruses” that might be hiding under Siberia’s permafrost. From various Earth materials, he and his colleagues identified several strains of an old virus, which they identified as belonging to five distinct families of viruses.

University of Pennsylvania Presidential Assistant Professor Cesar de la Fuente studies Neanderthal and other ancient animal genomes for tiny protein or peptide compounds that may have antibacterial properties.

Additionally, the extinct Tasmanian tiger and ice age gigantic woolly mammoth are being considered for possible reintroduction by Colossal Biosciences via synthetic biology, gene editing, and DNA sequencing.