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Breeding Band-tailed Pigeons: a glimpse into the future of passenger pigeon de-extinction

By De-Extinction, Passenger Pigeon

Ben Novak and Paul Marini The biggest challenges facing The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback will be obtaining germ cell cultures, engineering cells and birds, and then breeding and raising passenger pigeons that will survive and flourish in the wild. The underlying element of these challenges is handling live birds. As our project now is completing genome sequences and beginning to assess the mutations we will engineer into living band-tailed pigeons, we face our biggest obstacle – establishing a research flock of pigeons for the purpose of recreating the passenger pigeons. Mid- 2014 our project gained a new advisor and project…

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Advice for Students with Interest in Genetic Rescue and De-extinction

By De-Extinction

By Ben J. Novak We are frequently asked by students what education pathway should they pursue to develop a career in next generation conservation – such as biotech-based genetic rescue and de-extinction projects. Currently there are no education programs in the world that are designed for this kind of specialty, but any university with relatively customizable biology, genetics, and conservation science major programs can be tailored for a future in this line of work. Next generation conservation projects using biotech and genomics will be a highly interdisciplinary field, offering work for people with many specialties. It helps to decide early…

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