The Mermaid De-Extinction Project

Client: CBI
Deliverable: Forensically Unfalsified Mermaid Genome
Estimated Completion Date: TBD
Estimated Cost: >$240,000,000
Funds Secured: CBI

Sample Data (GBS format):
Syrene Mitochondria

The Mermaid De-Extinction Project uses whole genome design and synthesis toward the increase and diffusion of 21st century mermaid sightings through the production of the first ever draft sequence Mermaid Genome.

For millenia, stories of mermaid sightings have appeared during times of uncertainty. Often these encounters occur when the human capacity to act on the world outpaces their understanding of it.

By the 18th century, in the West, mermaid sightings first came under the scruitiny of the emerging concept of science. Mermaids were not immediatly dismissed  by scientists. They had long appeared in published literature. And an increasing number of sightings were being returned from the far flung reaches of the British Empire. These accumulated into a persistently growing credulity even amongst learned scientists.

However it was not until the 19th century that physical specimens purporting to be actual mermaids began circulating within Europe and the United States. Under close examination, these “Feejee” mermaids turned out to be simply well-executed taxidermy mashups, uniting the upper half of a juvenile orangutan with the lower half of an adult salmon. While these specimens appeared to have a plausible mermaid morphology, they lacked the genetic basis necessary to propagate living mermaids. 


The Mermaid De-Extinction Project seeks to address this shortcoming through the adoption of strategies already employed by other de-extinction efforts. De-extinction relies on the careful merging of partial DNA fragments recovered from multiple individuals, into one cohesive whole. Extending this concept further, we source complete genomes from two distantly related classes of fish and primates. Data from the Salmon and Orangutan Genome Projects are processed through our proprietary algorithm to generate millions of novel hybrid genomes. Each new hybrid genome is then tested against a neural network trained to recognize mermaid-like configurations within genomic data.


Bartholin, Thomas. “Of the Mermaids, &c. From the Miscellanea Naturae Curiosorum, Dec. 1, 1671.” In Acta Germanica: or, the literary Memoirs of Germany, &c. Vol. 1.120. London: G. Smith, 1742.

Bondeson, Jan. “The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History.” Cornell University Press. 2014.

Carl Linnaeus to Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademien, 29 Agusut 1749. “The Linnaean Correspondence.”

Linnaeus, Carl, and Abraham Osterdam. Siren lacertina, dissertatione academica orbi erudito data. Uppsala, 1766.

Mather, Cotton. Diary of Cotton Mather, 1681-1708. Volume 7. Boston: The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1911.

Pennsylvania Gazette, 6 May 1736.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, PM #97-39-70/72853
Scribner, Vaughn. “Such Monsters Do Exist in Nature: Mermaids, Tritons, and the Science of Wonder in the Eighteenth-Century Europe.”

If not now, when?  

Siren Genomics serves a unique partnership between biotechnology, mythology, and eschatology.