The flightless bird, Dodo, has remained extinct for over 350 years after its last sighting in 1662. However, this could soon change as gene editing company Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences has announced plans to bring the bird back to life. The company has raised $225 million from investors and is now testing tools to edit cells and better understand the DNA difference between the Dodo and its close relative, the Nicobar pigeon. The team plans to modify Nicobar pigeon cells to resemble dodo cells and then put the modified cells into developing eggs of other birds to produce offspring that may produce dodo eggs.
Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who is part of the project, says “There has never been more urgency to preserve species than there is today. It’s for the greater good of the planet. Together, Colossal and the scientific community at large are committed to our efforts to de-extinct those we’ve lost.”
The bird was last seen on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and was believed to only inhabit the region due to its safety and plentiful resources, which caused it to become flightless. The bird used to reproduce by laying just one egg a year and feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and shellfish.