challenge ‘resurrecting’ the dodoa flightless bird Extinct at the end of the 17th centuryhas gained momentum thanks to a new partnership between Colossal Biosciences, a genetic engineering company, and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit conservation organization that works closely with the Mauritian government.
Extinction of the dodo is one of Colossal Biosciences’ primary goals. The project, with the help of the Mauritius Wildlife Trust’s expertise in bird rescue and field surveillance, Restoring native dodo habitat on the island of MauritiusIt is located on the east coast of Africa.
And scientists remember that it is impossible to revive an extinct species if a suitable home that meets the conditions necessary for its survival is not available.
“Massive projects They will only be successful if the animals live in the wild and are returned to their natural habitat. We look forward to working with Mauritius to make this happen with the dodo,” Colossal’s animal director Matt James said in a statement posted to information portal IFLScience.
Dodos became extinct when Europeans came to Mauritius during colonization in the 17th century. there was silent, flightless birds that nest on the ground, making them easy targets This applies to hunters as well as to predators such as dogs, cats, pigs, rats and macaques introduced to the island.
They were silent, flightless birds that nested on the ground, making them easy targets for predators.
As a result of all this, its population decreased rapidly. The last confirmed sighting of a live dodo was 1662, but statistical analysis shows that: They continued until 1690. Either way, there were almost certainly no dodos left by the 18th century.
Leading the mission to save the dodo is Colossal Scientific Advisory Board member Beth Shapiro, the first scientist to completely sequence the dodo’s genome.
Construction of the reference genome
Currently the team is working with: Primitive germ cells of the Nicobar pigeon, the dodo’s closest living relative, to create a reference genome. In parallel, they are also developing genetically modified chickens to replace dodos.
“First you have to look at which is the closest phylogenetic relative. “What animal is closest to its family tree that still exists on the planet,” Ben Lamm, founder and CEO of Colossal Biosciences, explains to IFLScience. “It is necessary to find the closest phylogenetic relative because a reference genome must be found and constructeda and tissue samples are needed for this.
Then, tissue samples containing the ancient DNA of these extinct species need to be obtained. Ancient DNA differs from current living DNA because it is largely fragmented.
“Not everything is external, which means there are other microbes and creatures that contaminate it over time. “So you get pieces of ancient DNA and then you put them together,” Lamm added.
Little physical remains of the dodo bird remainbut fortunately some tissues were preserved. For example, Shapiro and his team used DNA from a skull in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Denmark to reconstruct the entire genome.
Colossal Biosciences plans to ‘resurrect’ not only the dodo, but also other symbolic animals that have become extinct from the distant past. The most spectacular case is the woolly mammoth specimen. The company set itself a goal Bring a mammoth specimen back to life in 2028 Using techniques similar to those that would be used to animate the dodo.
HOW DODO BECAME
Dodo was a bird large proportions: about one meter high. Its feathers were greyish in color and, according to analysis conducted in 2012, it weighed around 10 kilos, but some scientists think it could have reached 17.5 kilos.
It had a very long beak, about 23 cm, with a hook-shaped tip that probably allowed it to crack coconut shells. Its legs were yellow and sturdy, and it had a few curly feathers on its back. However He couldn’t fly because his wings were too small.. This fact, together with its large body weight and insufficient sternum to support the force of moving wings, meant that it moved only on land.
The traditional image of the dodo is as a fat and clumsy bird, hence its name. first scientific name Didus is incompetenthowever, this view was later questioned. And ancient drawings of the dodo depicted overfed captive specimens.
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