‘The idea of de-extinction has been a staple in science fiction for years, but now companies in the real world are making it a reality,’ reports a recent article about the plans of Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences to bring back the lost species of bird, the dodo. The species, known scientifically as Raphus cucullatus, lived on the tropical island of Mauritius for millions of years before going extinct after humans and their invasive species arrived.
Despite the challenges posed by the intricacies of avian reproduction, Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences are determined to bring back the dodo. They plan to start by creating primordial germ cells (PGCs) using the closest living relative of the dodo, the Nicobar pigeon. These PGCs will then be transferred into a surrogate chicken host, which the company believes could lead to successful interspecies germline transfer and help with the conservation of other threatened species across the globe.
The project has received $150 million in funding, including investment from venture capital firms such as In-Q-Tel (which is funded by the CIA) and the United States Innovative Technology Fund.
However, not everyone is convinced that de-extinction is the best way to help endangered species. Some argue that it would be more effective to focus on conserving species that are still alive, as the ecological services provided by extinct species may not have a place in the modern world.