Northern white rhino 'could be saved from extinction'
Northern white rhino 'could be saved from extinction'
The pre-implantation embryos are known as blastocysts
07 July, 2018, 06:50
According to the New York Times' Steph Yin, the team of worldwide scientists drew on samples from four northern males and two southern females, ultimately creating four hybrid embryos and three full southern white embryos.
Using IVF, they hope to see the first northern white calf born within the next three years.
The female eggs ended in the laboratory of Avantea in Italy, the world's leader in artificial reproduction for large animals.
A caregiver calms Sudan, the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies, on December 5, 2016, at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County - at the foot of Mount Kenya - that is home to the planet's last-three northern white rhinoceros. Jan Stejskal, of the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, told the outlet he hopes his colleagues can collect the precious cells by the end of the year.
Fatu is one of two remaining northern white rhinos, both female, who live on a nature reserve in Kenya.
Using assisted reproductive techniques in wild species of animals have not worked as well as they have in domesticated animals such as horses and cattle, they pointed out.
The NWR can only reproduce in the zoos very slowly.
Using similar techniques, the scientists were able to fertilize southern white rhinoceros eggs taken from different females in European zoos with previously frozen northern white rhinoceros sperm, creating hybrid embryos. Southern white rhinos are closely related to northern white rhinos and so their genetic pairing is ideal for potential IFV. "Any embryos produced would likely need to be cryopreserved (or frozen) until a surrogate could be set up".
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But Mr Hildebrandt stood by the effort, saying: "The northern white rhino didn't fail in evolution". The embryos reached the blastocyst stage-a relatively developed stage which boosts the chances of pregnancy after transplantation. Alternatively, it might be used to create a population of hybrid rhinos - both southern white and northern white rhinos. A hybrid calf ensures some genetic continuity for the northern white rhino even after its extinction. To date, the embryos are showing all vital signs of the healthy embryonic stem cells.
The first rhinoceros embryo created in vitro can help to save the subspecies, the Northern white Rhino from the brink of extinction. An worldwide team of researchers has successfully created NWR hybrid embryos in the lab, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. These cells are adult cells, such as blood or skin cells, that are reprogrammed to act like stem cells.
It will then be planted into surrogate mothers, who are under heavy guard at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the researchers noted in a statement.
There is time pressure, they pointed out, with only two animals still around to socialise the babies in the mysterious ways of northern white rhinos.
The northern white rhinoceros needs a miracle.
"Many people working in conservation are strongly against using biotechnologies, which seems insane, because if you have the technology, why not use it for the good?" he said.
But now, scientists have developed new assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) which could provide the beleaguered species with a lifeline.
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