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Nurturing embryonic development, Guojun Sheng, Kumamoto University

BIOTECHNOLOGY FOR BIRD CONSERVATION

Congratulations to our 2022 Award recipients!

The unique reproductive biology of birds makes it difficult to directly translate key technologies used for genetic rescue in mammals, like in vitro fertilization and cloning.  This Program aims to change that—and that’s why we have created these 4 specific research tracks.

PROGRAM TRACK 1: CULTURING AVIAN GERM CELLS FOR REPRODUCTION

Optimizing and Expanding the Avian Primordial Germ Cell Toolkit
Erich Jarvis
Rockefeller University
USA

Transmission of cultured psittacine primordial germ cells (PGCs) to other species – When galliformes produce endangered parrots using cockatiels and quails as a model.
Michael Liers
Universität Giessen
Germany

Establishment of the culture of primordial germ cells in the blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis)
Yoshiaki Nakamura
Hiroshima University
Japan

PROGRAM TRACK 2: AVIAN STEM CELLS FOR REPRODUCTION

Peafowl conservation via optimal integration of embryology and stem cell biology
Guojun Sheng
Kumamoto University
Japan

Derivation of primordial germ cells from zebra finch ESCs/iPSCs, and their use for species preservation
Qilong Ying
University of Southern California
USA

PROGRAM TRACK 3: IN VIVO GENE EDITING

Nanoparticle-mediated in vivo gene-editing of bird germ-lines
Jae Yong Han
Seoul National University
Korea

PROGRAM TRACK 4: STERILE SURROGATES FOR REPRODUCTION OF DONOR CELL LINES

Generation of sterile surrogate quail and zebra finch via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing to produce allogenic and xenogenic donor PGC-derived offspring
Kichoon Lee
Ohio State University
USA

DAZLing transplants for avian restorations
Rusty Lansford
University of Southern California
USA

Japanese Quail (Coturnix Japonica) isolated on white.

Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica)

Powerful new biotechnologies hold promise to revolutionize the way species are protected and restored.

Pioneering efforts are already underway, applying cloning and developing stem cell embryogenesis for endangered mammals. However, current biotechnologies are in need of optimization and further innovation to be applicable to endangered birds. The Biotechnology for Bird Conservation Program aims to develop new biotechnology tools for use in avian species, potentially forging completely new transformative technologies.

Our 2022 funding program

The Biotechnology for Bird Conservation Program accepted proposals across four program tracks, as described below. Proposals addressed a single program track. Teams wishing to address multiple program tracks were instructed to submit a separate proposal for each. The deadline to submit final proposals was May 1, 2022.

To advance germ-line transmission technologies towards the above listed capabilities, we called for proposals that address the following topics:

  1. Production of non-chicken birds via biparental germ-line transmission of cultured PGCs.
  2. Production of birds via biparental germ-line transmission of induced primordial germ cells.
  3. Efficient in vivo gene-editing of bird germ-lines.
  4. Novel innovation and/or adaptation of technologies from outside the field of avian systems. This program track will support multi-disciplinary projects that attempt to leverage advances in biomedical fields.

Selection Criteria

Proposals were evaluated according to the following selection criteria: 

  • Technical Merit
    • How likely is it that the proposed approach will be successful?
    • What are the greatest technical risks and can they be mitigated?
  • Potential for Impact
    • If the project is successful, how will it enable genetic rescue of wild species?
    • Is there a plan to transition to proofs-of-concept with wild species?
  • Budget and Realistic Schedule
    • Are the budgets and timeline realistic for meeting the goals of the project?

Funding Preferences

Funding preference was given to proposals with the following characteristics: 

  • Non-technical challenges and mitigations addressed: issues such as community acceptance and regulatory requirements should be carefully considered and planned for. 
  • Availability of matching funds: other funding may include government agencies, universities, or private sources. 
  • Revive & Restore is happy to support indirect costs up to 10 percent of the total project budget.