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Stem Cell Technologies

Advancing stem cell technologies to restore fertility, engineer disease resistance, and accelerate adaptation in wildlife.

Revive & Restore’s newest program explores stem cell technology as a way to achieve offspring for endangered species, fight wildlife disease, and engineer resilience in today’s changing world.

Wildlife populations are declining at an alarming rate, and we need innovative solutions to save species from extinction. Integral to human medicine, pluripotent stem cells are unspecialized cells with the capacity to become any cell type in the body, including sperm and eggs. Excitingly, they can be generated noninvasively from other cells through the process known as ‘reprogramming’.

Stem cells could unlock new conservation technologies for fertility restoration, engineering disease resistance, and accelerating adaptation to climate change. Conservation challenges that stem cell technologies might be used to mitigate  include:

  • Limited reproductive capabilities 
  • Susceptibility to disease
  • Dwindling genetic diversity 
  • Poor adaptation to change

The Opportunity

Converting biobanked samples to stem cells has the potential to create a limitless resource for conservation innovation. Yet, stem cell methods are drastically underdeveloped for endangered species. Stem cell technology for wildlife could one day provide:

  • A pathway to offspring for endangered species
  • Solutions to wildlife disease
  • An opportunity for engineered resilience
  • An emerging route to produce any type of cell, tissue, organ, or embryo

The world of clinical stem cell research has seen considerable advances in recent years. Translating this technology to wildlife could help rescue species on the brink of extinction.

Program Scope

Revive & Restore is creating the world’s first Stem Cell Program for Wildlife Conservation. 

For the first time, stem cell scientists, programmers, and bioengineers will converge to develop and apply a suite of stem cell-assisted technologies specifically to conserve biodiversity. Three Key Focus Areas for R&D underpin the success of stem cell technologies for genetic rescue, including

  1. Stem cell derivation optimized for a range of endangered species
  2. Parallel methods developed to produce sperm, eggs, and embryos for key species
  3. Resilience to disease and climate change

This program aims to showcase multiple demonstrations of these three outcomes for the species that need it most.

“Pragmatically, pluripotent stem cells provide the tools for genetic rescue, but they also represent a living bioarchive of the diversity of biological inventions and solutions to challenges faced by living systems (including us) on our unique planet – something that we would be foolish to let slip away”

Professor Tom Burdon, The Roslin Institute

Stem Cell Workshop Participant

Our Biotech For Bird Conservation program funds

6 projects

advancing stem cell technologies for avian species

Our Black-Footed Ferret Recovery program funds

3 teams

using stem cells to engineer resilience to sylvatic plague

Our Advanced Coral Toolkit program funds

1 team

using stem cells to enhance thermal resilience in coral

Stem Cells And AI

AI is emerging as a powerful accelerator across multiple disciplines. We now have a tremendous opportunity to translate technologies like machine learning to help solve wildlife conservation problems caused by population bottlenecks, wildlife disease, and invasive species, and compounded by climate change.

Our Approach

Revive & Restore will assemble a constellation of AI researchers, leading genome engineers, stem cell biologists, and conservationists from academic institutions and organizations worldwide. Each team will take on a seemingly intractable problem and develop a targeted approach to utilize AI’s potential to accelerate advances in stem cell science for conservation.

How We Measure Impact

Our goal is having stem cells incorporated into the genetic rescue toolkit and routinely used to produce healthy, diverse, resilient offspring for endangered species.

Support the Stem Cell program today!