Category

De-Extinction

The Audacious Experiment of Pleistocene Park

By Pleistocene Park, Revive & Restore, Woolly Mammoth
An artist's renderings of the mammoth steppe. Courtesy Pleistocene Park Foundation. Through the work spearheaded by one family, an ecosystem reengineering experiment is bringing new life to the Arctic. It's an effort to stop the thaw of permafrost and the impending, enormous release of its greenhouse gasses.  Nearly 20,000 years ago, millions of woolly mammoths, bison, oxen, horse, and reindeer lived in the grassland steppe of northern Siberia. Today, the landscape is largely a barren tundra, a once-great grassland ecosystem ruined through hapless human activity. However, things are starting to change. In one corner of Siberia, Sergey Zimov and son...
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Citizen Science for the Passenger Pigeon – Join the Project!

By Ben Novak, De-Extinction, Get Involved, Passenger Pigeon

-Ben J. Novak Revive & Restore’s Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback began in 2012 with two questions: Can we bring back the passenger pigeon to the eastern forests of the United States? And if so, why bring it back? To answer these questions, Revive & Restore with scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, sequenced genomes, crunched population models, reviewed historic records and forestry science, and more.  This new research significantly reshapes accepted scientific views of this iconic species. Can we bring back the Passenger Pigeon? We can’t bring the passenger pigeon back as a exact clone from a historical…

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Beth Shapiro: The Young Science of Ancient DNA

By De-Extinction, Genetic Rescue, Woolly Mammoth
It is difficult to overstate the influence and guidance Beth Shapiro has lent to the field paleogenomics and the work of Revive & Restore. Beth is one of our Board Members as well as an advisor for our Passenger Pigeon Project. As Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Beth uses the DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species have evolved through time and how human activity has affected this dynamic process. She is also a fantastic speaker, conveying great enthusiasm for...
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By Land and Sea, Looking to Restore a Planet in Crisis

By De-Extinction, Heath Hen

The Vineyard Gazette Noah Asimow – August 22, 2019 Buried deep within the woods of the Manuel Correllus State Forest is a statue of Booming Ben, the world’s final heath hen. Once common all along the eastern seaboard, the species was hunted to near-extinction in the 1870s. Although a small number of the birds found refuge on Martha’s Vineyard, they officially disappeared in 1932 — with Booming Ben, the last of their kind, calling for female mates who were no longer there to hear him. “There is no survivor, there is no future, there is no life to be recreated…

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Meet the Scientists Bringing Back Extinct Species From the Dead

By De-Extinction, Passenger Pigeon
Meet the Scientists Bringing Extinct Species Back From the Dead Wall Street Journal – October 9, 2018 “The last known passenger pigeon—a bird named Martha—died in captivity at a Cincinnati zoo in 1914. Her demise sparked the passing of modern conservation laws to protect other endangered species in the U.S.” Now, more than 100 years later, the Passenger Pigeon is again advancing conservation. Although the de-extinction of the Passenger Pigeon will likely take decades, de-extinction research is already generating foundational science that could transform bird conservation. Furthermore, Passenger Pigeon de-extinction offers a new opportunity to achieve long-term conservation goals for...
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New Book on Woolly Mammoth De-extinction

By De-Extinction, Woolly Mammoth
Revive & Restore plays a role in Ben Mezrich’s new book WOOLLY – soon to be a feature film directed by Oscar Sharp. The book reads like a novel, but it tells the story of real characters and real events.  George Church at Harvard Medical School built a team of brilliant genome engineers to work on editing enough woolly mammoth genes into  living elephant genomes to potentially recreate living woolly mammoths. Revive & Restore introduced George Church to the extraordinary Russian scientist Sergey Zimov, who has started a project in northern Siberia called “Pleistocene Park,” which is using wild grazing...
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The Great Comeback Down Under

By De-Extinction, Passenger Pigeon
Ben Novak – Revive & Restore's Lead Researcher for The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback – is pursuing his Ph.D. at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. There, he will be working with scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop a model system for testing genome editing in pigeons. Novak was awarded the Faculty Graduate Research International Scholarship and the Co-funded Monash Graduate Scholarship to fund his research. This exciting phase of collaboration between Revive & Restore and CSIRO began in May 2017. Novak aims to produce a strain of rock pigeons capable of making genome engineering in pigeons...
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Dodo Bird De-extinction? The Dialogue Has Begun in the Island Nation of Mauritius

By De-Extinction

By Ben J. Novak “Gone the way of the Dodo” is the all-too-common sigh of remorse uttered when another species joins the growing list of recent extinctions. The last Dodo bird died on the island of Mauritius (located about 1,200 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean) over 300 years ago. It was driven to extinction in the late 1600’s after invasive species out-competed the bird for food and ate its young. The speed at which this pigeon was extirpated made the Dodo the modern icon of human-caused extinction. Less than 75 years after Dutch sailors…

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2015 Year End Report by Stewart Brand

By Black-Footed Ferret, De-Extinction, Heath Hen, Passenger Pigeon

Revive & Restore has set out to expand conservation practice by demonstrating how new genomic tools can be applied to a variety of serious wildlife problems that have proved unsolvable by traditional means. Working with dozens of scientists, we are participating in 12 such projects—7 initiated by us. Of the 12 projects, 6 aim to prevent extinction of endangered species (genetic rescue), 5 attempt to reverse extinction in ecologically important species (de-extinction), and 1 hopes to cure a devastating human ailment (Lyme disease) by tweaking its wildlife reservoir. That may seem like too much for a tiny nonprofit to take…

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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 to 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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