A billion-dollar company believes that species that have gone extinct can be brought back to life using gene editing techniques, which are largely employed to prevent and treat human diseases. The dodo, a flightless bird that has not existed since the 17th century, may have made some progress toward revival, according to a release by Colossal Biosciences.
The futuristic concept is only feasible now that the Dallas-based corporation has completely encrypted the dodo’s genome. Scientists at Colossal have begun work on a project to use stem cell technology to resurrect extinct species that went extinct more than 350 years ago.
According to The Guardian, gene editing techniques now exist that allow scientists to mine the genome of the dodo, a Mauritian bird last seen in the 17th century, for key traits that they believe they can then effectively reassemble within the body of a living relative. Dodos are most closely related to pigeons, according to the sequencing of the proverbially dead bird’s genome.
Scientists at US startup Colossal Biosciences, based in Dallas, Texas, said their work, beyond providing an insight into the extinct dodo’s existence, could help inform the conservation of rare species that are not yet extinct. However, there is a fierce debate among biologists over whether this sort of research should be pursued.
The news report further stated that Colossal Biosciences, the gene editing company involved, has already embarked on projects to revive the woolly mammoth and the thylacine. But the dodo would be its first bird, which is significant as it means changing the gene editing technique to accommodate an external egg.
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