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Long-extinct passenger pigeon could be brought back to life in near future

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 15:34

Washington: Passenger pigeon, which was once among the most abundant birds in North America, is now extinct because of hunting and habitat destruction but scientists are planning to bring it to life.

The research is being spearheaded by young biologist Ben J. Novak .

Novak`s idea seems to have been taken from techno thriller `Jurassic Park,` in which dinosaur DNA was completed by corresponding fragments from living amphibians, birds and reptiles, the Washington Post reported.

Working in tandem with Harvard geneticist George Church`s lab and Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he is planning to use passenger pigeon DNA taken from museum specimens and complete the DNA sequence with fragments from the band-tailed pigeon.

The reconstituted genome will be inserted into a band-tailed pigeon stem cell that will transform it into a germ cell - precursor of egg and sperm.

The scientists then are going to inject the germ cells into developing band-tailed pigeons and as those birds mate, their eventual offspring will express the passenger pigeon genes, which is as close to being passenger pigeons as the available genetic material allows.


First Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 15:33

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