Thanks to the rapid advance of genomic technology, new tools are emerging for conservation. Endangered species that have lost their crucial genetic diversity may be restored to reproductive health. Those threatened by invasive diseases may be able to acquire genetic disease-resistance.
It may even be possible to bring some extinct species back to life. The DNA of many extinct creatures is well preserved in museum specimens and some fossils. Their full genomes can now be read and analyzed. That data may be transferable as working genes into their closest living relatives, effectively bringing the extinct species back to life. The ultimate aim is to restore them to their former home in the wild.
Molecular biologists and conservation biologists all over the world are working on these techniques. The role of Revive & Restore is to help coordinate their efforts so that genomic conservation can move ahead with the best current science, plenty of public transparency, and the overall goal of enhancing biodiversity and ecological health worldwide.
Male passenger pigeon, painting by Tim Hough.
News & updates on the project using museum-specimen DNA to bring this iconic species all the way back.
De-extinction and the Microbiome
Current research on microbiomes reveals that an organism’s microbiota are co-evolved with the host species, but not to a point of specificity that is problematic between related organisms (such as one kind of pigeon in relation to another). While genetic and epigenetic factors play between the host organism and the microbiota — determining which microbes successfully colonize the gut and other organs — the ultimate dictating force of the composition of an organism’s microbiome is diet and environment. [Read More...]
Credit: Flying Puffin on Flickr
Revive & Restore is working with de-extinction scientists worldwide to build a roster of potentially revivable species. See the Full List.
Dr. Beth Shapiro, Associate Professor
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
UCSC Paleogenomics Lab.
Revive & Restore is partnering with the University of California Santa Cruz’s state-of-the-art Paleogenomics Lab for the Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback. [Read more...]
On March 15, 2013 at National Geographic, twenty-five extraordinary talks by leading scientists and conservationists were captured on video on the concept of de-extinction.
Q. Why do it? Why revive extinct species?
A. For the same reasons we protect endangered species. To preserve biodiversity and genetic diversity. To undo harm that humans have caused in the past. To restore diminished ecosystems. To advance the science of preventing extinctions.
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REGENESIS: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves
– George Church and Ed Regis
One of the world’s leading genomic engineers spells out how rapidly his field is developing radical capabilities. (Church is involved in the Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback.) View full reading list.