Category

Passenger Pigeon

Experimental Investigation of the Dietary Ecology of the Extinct Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius

By | Passenger Pigeon, Revive & Restore

The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was the dominant species in eastern North American forests for tens of thousands of years prior to its extinction in 1914. The birds lived in megaflocks comprising up to several billion individuals, moving nomadically as they consumed fruit and mast, the seed of beech, oak, chestnut, and other forest trees. The size and density of passenger pigeon flocks as well as their migratory patterns and their diet shaped the abundance and the distribution of tree species in these forests. In fact, the passenger pigeon was an ecosystem engineer of eastern North American forests for tens…

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The Rousing of an 11-Year-Old De-Extincter!

By | Passenger Pigeon

A big part of what we do at Revive & Restore is bring together scientists conducting cutting-edge genomics research with the conservationists who are working in the field so that these new technologies may become an instrumental part of the twenty-first century conservation tool kit. The efforts we take to be active on social media, to engage with journalists covering conservation issues, and to jump start key genetic rescue projects mean that the ideas of genetic rescue and de-extinction are becoming part of the conservation conversation. What we didn’t realize is that our work could be so profoundly inspiring to…

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The CRISPR Craze Takes Fight: Adding Birds to the CRISPR Zoo

By | Passenger Pigeon

By Ben J. Novak I returned from Taipei, Taiwan today after attending the Avian Model Systems 9 meeting and taking a week-long tour of the spectacular sights of Taroko Gorge, Hualien, and Alishan to reflect on the mass of information presented. Being in the wilderness is certainly the best way to digest new ideas for applying new science innovations to conservation. The Avian Model Systems meeting is a unique conference of scientists striving to make birds the best model organisms possible for many avenues of research. Often, non-avian models are unsuitable to study a particular phenomenon, such as the study of…

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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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Advances in Avian Transgenics

By | De-Extinction, Passenger Pigeon

A follow up to “Why birds are a challenge” by Ben J. Novak The next phase of The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback is approaching: the engineering of passenger pigeon mutations into living pigeons. The first requirement to do this is a flock of pigeons; the second is a viable method to creating engineered birds. Engineering birds is not difficult, but making engineered birds that are capable of passing on their engineered traits is a formidable challenge in the world of avian research. The key element in viability is that the passenger pigeon mutations we edit are incorporated into the germ…

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