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700 years old flightless and extinct bird can be brought back to life, say scientists

Museum host shows Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a giant Moa bird during a visit to Te Papa Museum in Wellington. [Representational Image]Getty Images/Marty Melville/AFP

Researchers are a bit nearer to bringing back a type of flightless bird that has been extinct for very nearly 700 years. The little bush moa that possessed parts of New Zealand went suddenly extinct because of overhunting in the late thirteenth century.

A group of researchers from Harvard University has collected an about total genome of the extinct moa by separating antiquated DNA from the toe bone of a moa specimen held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.

The researchers now trust that they are nearer to the objective of “de-extinction” — the vanished species can be breathed life into back by slipping the genome into the egg of living animal groups, Statnews reported.

“High throughput sequencing has revolutionized the field of ancient DNA (aDNA) by facilitating recovery of nuclear DNA for greater inference of evolutionary processes of extinct species than is possible from mitochondrial DNA alone,” as indicated by the investigation.

The little bush moa belonged to the palaeognathae clade of birds – those like the kiwi, ostrich, and emu were viewed as its cousins. There were nine types of the moa but every one of them is extinct at this point.

They meandered in the woodlands of the North and South Islands of New Zealand before they wound up extinct, the NZ Herald said. They were on a normal four feet tall and weighed around 66 pounds.

Specialists trust that the Harvard researchers’ work could make it less demanding to bring back the departed species from extinction.

“The fact that they could get a genome from a little bush moa toe is a big deal since now we might be able to use their data to do other extinct bird species,” Ben Novak, lead scientist at non-profit conservation group Revive and Restore, told Statnews.

“De-extinction could be useful for inspiring new science and could be beneficial for conservation if we ensure it doesn’t reduce existing conservation resources,” University of Queensland scientist Hugh Possingham said in a statement.

“However, in general, it is best if we focus on the many species that need our help now,” he added.