Dodo could face a resurrection nearly 400 years since it became extinct

By Jill Dando News

The dodo could be brought back from the dead by scientists in a bold initiative.

The odd-looking animal is famous as a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean until the late 17th century. 

Visiting sailors doomed the dodo, which showed no fear of humans, to extinction in the space of just a few decades. 


Now, a team of scientists wants to bring back the dodo using hi-tech ancient DNA sequencing, gene editing technology and synthetic biology.

They hope the project will open up new techniques for bird conservation. 

The Dodo (

Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz., told CNN said: “We’re clearly in the middle of an extinction crisis.

“And it’s our responsibility to bring stories and to bring excitement to people in way that motivates them to think about the extinction crisis that’s going on right now.”

Shapiro is the lead paleogeneticist at Colossal Biosciences, a biotechnology and genetic engineering start-up founded by tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church.

They are also working on equally ambitious projects to bring back the woolly mammoth and the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger.

Shapiro said that she had already completed a key first step in the project — fully sequencing the dodo’s genome from ancient DNA — based on genetic material extracted from dodo remains in Denmark. 

The next step was to compare the genetic information with the dodo’s closest bird relatives in the pigeon family — the living Nicobar pigeon, and the extinct Rodrigues solitaire, a giant flightless pigeon that once lived on an island close to Mauritius.