Dodo Could Be Resurrected After Scientists Examine Extinct Bird’s DNA For The First Time
For the first time, the dodo’s entire genome has been sequenced, raising hopes that the bird could be saved from extinction.
Beth Shapiro, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told a Royal Society webinar that her lab will soon release the full DNA of a specimen held at the Museum of natural history of copenhagen.
The 3ft tall flightless bird was wiped out in the 17th century, just 100 years after it was discovered on Mauritius.
Dodos and mammoths for DNA sequencing
(Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
However, in addition to being persecuted by humans, dogs, cats and pigs preyed on the birds, with sailors carrying the predators with them on their voyages in the Indian Ocean, according to Express.
“The dodo genome is completely sequenced because we sequenced it; it hasn’t been released yet, but it exists and we’re working on it right now,” she explained.
She spent a lot of time trying to get DNA from an Oxford specimen. They also obtained a trace of DNA, but it was not well enough preserved.
She said the group had discovered a “wonderful specimen” in Denmark, according to The Telegraph.
So we have a very high-quality, high-coverage dodo genome that will be released shortly, she continued, but warned that bringing the bird back could be difficult.
“Mammals are easier,” she explained. “How can I change a cell that resides in a lab box containing a piece of Dodo DNA into an authentic, living, breathing animal?”
Similar prospects exist for this woolly mammoth, whose DNA has also been fully sequenced thanks to well-preserved remains discovered in Siberian permafrost.
Colossal, a new gene-editing startup founded by entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard scientist George Church, aims to resurrect the woolly mammoth.
Cloning woolly mammoth DNA with that of a modern Asian elephant would result in the creation of an embryo that could be developed in an artificial womb or surrogate elephant.
Read more: Dodo birds weren’t as dumb as you think, study finds
The dodo clone may not look like the one from the past
The dodo derives its name from either the Portuguese term for “fool”, because sailors insulted it for its apparent lack of inhibition of armed hunters.
It is genetically related to the Nicobar pigeon, and it is conceivable that scientists would alter the pigeon’s DNA to incorporate Dodo’s DNA if they wish to reintroduce the species.
Mike Benton, professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Bristol, thinks it would have been better to bring back a dodo instead of an animal from even further back in time since it could live in the environment of ‘today.
“The dodo is indeed a famous bird that you can justify reintroducing,” he added. If they bring the T-Rex back to life, it couldn’t be a popular thing because it would wreak havoc.
Bringing back something that wasn’t that old, on the other hand, would be much more doable. The dodo has a well-known and easily accessible habitat.
Through the engineering aspects of the dodo, professionals will indeed be confronted with all the problems that people have also faced, as well as the reality of creating an entirely new species.
That you could infuse sections of this dodo DNA into an advanced pigeon but somehow start generating a dodo would probably not look like what we expect a dodo to look like .
Related article: New secrets of the Dodo revealed
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