Genetic engineering company plans to “de-extinct” dodo bird KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Genetic engineering company plans to “de-extinct” dodo bird

Information reaching Kossyderrickent has it that Genetic engineering company plans to “de-extinct” dodo bird.

Colossal Biosciences unveiled Tuesday its “Jurassic Park”-like goal to bring back the dodo, adding to previous pledges to resurrect two other long-extinct species — the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger.

Pioneering gene-editing techniques will allow scientists to mine the dodo genome for traits which they can effectively reassemble within the body of a living relative such as a pigeon, The Guardian reported.

George Church, a Harvard scientist who founded the company in 2021 with entrepreneur Ben Lamm, hopes to reintroduce the species into the wild. Beth Shapiro, a board member on Colossal’s Scientific Advisory Board and lead paleo geneticist on the project, said: “The Dodo is a prime example of a species that became extinct because we — people —made it impossible for them to survive in their native habitat.”

“I particularly look forward to furthering genetic rescue tools focused on birds and avian conservation.”

The dodo, a three feet tall bird weighing up to 39lb, used to live on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius before it was driven to extinction. Colossal Biosciences currently has 40 scientists working on a separate project to revive the woolly mammoth, which it describes as “the cuddly version of a velociraptor.”

Scientists plan to fuse the DNA of mammoths that were frozen in ice for thousands of years with that of modern Asian elephants.

He said: “There is no doubt this is an iconic bird. I’ve no idea whether the mechanics of this will work as they claim, but the question is not just can you do this but should you do it.

“There are people who think that because you can do something you should, but I’m not sure what purpose it serves, and whether this is really the best allocation of resources. We should be saving the species that we have before they go extinct.”

The firm’s goal, while unusual, has drawn a roster of notable investors that includes “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth, “Succession” actor Nicholas Braun, Paris Hilton, the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, and other entities.

The firm is valued at $1.5 billion after a recently closed $150 million Series B fundraising round. Participants in its most recent funding round included tech investor and “Jurassic World” producer Thomas Tull’s United States Innovative Technology Fund and Breyer Capital. Colossal has raised $225 million since its debut in September 2021.

Ultimately, Colossal aims to successfully reproduce the dodo and recreate a sustainable habitat for the bird in Mauritius, where it was once found.

Critics of the firm have expressed skepticism about the achievability of its goals, as well as the unknown variables associated with recreating a long-extinct species.

“The dodo is a prime example of a species that became extinct because we — people — made it impossible for them to survive in their native habitat,” said Beth Shapiro, Colossal Biosciences’ lead paleontologist and advisory board member.

Colossal’s founders say the company aims to reverse damage to the dodo’s environment and ecosystem — but its mission could have broader implications for gene editing and other fledgling technology of interest to investors. 

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