Texas-based firm Colossal Biosciences is already working on a way to bring back the long-extinct woolly mammoth.
The dodo, a flightless bird that once inhabited the island of Mauritius, is perhaps the best known example of a species hunted to extinction by man – a creature that has since become synonymous with the idea that our activities on this planet can have dire consequences for other species.
The first reported encounter with a dodo was by Dutch sailors in 1598 and by 1662 the species had been completely wiped out due to hunting and the destruction of its habitat.
Now, though, scientists at Colossal Biosciences have announced their intention to bring the dodo back from the dead by editing the DNA of the extinct bird’s closest living relative – the Nicobar pigeon.
If this can be achieved, the modified cells could then be inserted into unhatched eggs, producing offspring that may later go on to lay dodo eggs themselves.
Not everyone, however, is particularly sold on the idea of bringing back extinct species.
“There’s a real hazard in saying that if we destroy nature, we can just put it back together again – because we can’t,” said ecologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.
“And where on Earth would you put a woolly mammoth, other than in a cage?”