Can a dodo bird, or rather a dodo drone, come back to life? The American company Colossal Biosciences, dealing in biotechnology and genetic engineering, has signed an agreement with the non-governmental organization Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Its aim is to recreate a bird that became extinct in the 17th century.
The deal was signed about 10 months after Colossal Biosciences announced its plans to recreate the extinct bird species, the BBC reported. A team of biotechnologists led by Professor Beth Shapiro managed to sequence the DNA of the dodo (Latin: Raphus cucullatus).
– The dodo, a bird closely identified with Mauritius, is unfortunately also a symbol of the role that humanity played in its extinction. It also symbolizes efforts to prevent species extinction, said Vikash Tatayah, director of conservation at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. “We are very grateful for Colossal’s technologies and the promise of returning this iconic species, extinct in the 1680s, to its native habitat,” he added.
Dodo, symbol of extinction
The dodo, or rather the dodo drone, is an extinct species of large bird from the pigeon family. It was endemic to the island of Mauritius. It is the most frequently mentioned extinct animal species in history and culture, but almost nothing is known about its life in the wild. The extinction of the species was caused by the trapping of the bird by people arriving on the island – they were large birds, but not very timid – and the plundering of nests by pigs introduced to the islands.
In popular culture, the bird has become a symbol of extinction. In English there is a saying “dead as dodo” (dead as a dodo), meaning something irretrievably lost.
The agreement between Colossal Biosciences and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation also includes work to save the red-tailed turtledove (Latin: Nesoenas mayeri). There are about 500 of them left in Mauritius, but the species is endangered due to lack of genetic diversity.
PAP, BBC News, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
Main photo source: Mannaggia/AdobeStock