Revive & Restore's new program aims to crack one of the toughest problems in conservation biotechnology: the lack of techniques that work on bird embryos. Image from Untersuchungen über die Entstehung der Missbildungen zunächst in den Eiern der Vögel / P.L. Panum. Public Domain

Revive & Restore announces New Program in Biotechnology for Bird Conservation

Saving endangered bird species requires specialized biotechnological tools to crack the problem of the Avian yolk.

Revive & Restore has announced a new program in biotechnology for bird conservation, accompanied by a multi-million dollar grant that will support projects under the Avian Genetic Rescue Consortium. The new program, the first of its kind at this scale of funding, aims to address the unique challenges associated with bird conservation.

One in eight bird species is under threat of extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, and the existing toolkit for genetic rescue of these threatened bird species is insufficient for the task. Current techniques in reproductive biotechnology like in vitro fertilization and cloning were designed for use on mammals, and the many-times larger yolks of bird egg cells make the microscopic scale of these methods inoperable.

Current techniques in biotechnology severely limit the potential for avian genetic rescue. Revive & Restore's new program aims to change that. Courtesy of Revive & Restore.

The goal of Revive & Restore’s new initiative is to spur the creation of tools specific to avian germ-line transmission technologies, with an emphasis on tools applicable to rare and endangered bird species. According to Ben Novak, lead scientist at Revive & Restore, the technologies that will be pursued through the Avian Genetic Rescue Consortium “have the potential to revolutionize avian science and create immeasurable opportunities for conservation so that no bird species has to become or remain extinct in the future.”

The Request for Proposals for Revive & Restore’s Biotechnology For Bird Conservation program is available here, and submissions are due May 1, 02022.

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