Scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals – even if those animals have no closely related descendants or carefully preserved DNA. To fill in the blanks of these animals’ incomplete genomes, scientists want to use a Jurassic Park-style method: copy and paste genes of the extinct species into precise places in the genomes of their living relatives. Researchers in Japan, Russia and the US say they could use this technique to create hybrid animals.
How it works
- Sequence the DNA of the extinct passenger pigeon (left) and its nearest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon. Determine where the genomes differ.
- Synthesise the DNA of a passenger pigeon gene that’s missing in the band-tailed pigeon.
- Target the gene to the appropriate area of the band-tailed pigeon’s genome. Cut out the band-tailed pigeon’s DNA and splice in the synthetic passenger pigeon DNA.
- Repeat for each missing passenger pigeon gene.