Resurrecting scents that went extinct 100 years ago

ginkgovials
Resurrecting scents that went extinct 100 years ago. Image credit: Ginkgo Bioworks

Move aside, Chanel No. 5. Scientists have now created a scent that’s even older than the iconic perfume, even if it has only just wafted into human nostrils for the first time in more than 100 years.

That’s because the piney, earthy perfume derives its fragrance compounds from a Hawaiian hibiscus flower that vanished from the dry-land forests of Maui in the early 1910s.

Researchers at Ginkgo Bioworksone of the largest synthetic-biology companies in world, succeeded in resurrecting the smell by expressing the genes needed for making the defunct flower’s pungent aroma molecules in microbes.

They took small snippets of tissue from around a dozen plants, including the Falls-of-the-Ohio scurfpea (last seen in 1881), the Wynberg conebush (last seen in 1806), and the Hawaiian mountain hibiscus (presumed extinct around 1912). They then worked with Beth Shapiro, a paleogenomicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to isolate and decode the ancient DNA, before taking a Jurassic Park–like approach to genetic reconstitution.

Related article:  Are we about to raise the cap on human life expectancy?

According to [Ginkgo’s creative director Christina] Agapakis, the de-extincted hibiscus perfume will be available for purchase as part of an art installation going on tour around the world next year, starting in February [2019] at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris.

The goal, says Agapakis, is to show, through art, the immense potential of synthetic biology and genome engineering.

Read full, original post: Jurassic Park for Perfume: Ginkgo Bioworks Reconstructs Scents From Extinct Plants

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend