Scientists have used in-vitro fertilization techniques to develop hybrid rhino embryos — “test-tube rhinos” — which could help save the endangered northern white rhinoceros species, according to a new study.
The team was also able to extract stem cell lines from southern white rhino embryos, a closely related subspecies to northern white rhinos, which could be used to make reproductive cells such as eggs and sperm to create embryos.These techniques could become a valuable tool in the conservation of rhino populations, according to the research published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.
“It shows for the first time that modern technology can offer some options for conservation when the situation gets very bad, when species become endangered, such as the case of the northern white rhino,” said Cesare Galli, who works at Avantea’s laboratory of reproductive technologies and was one of the authors of the report.
The northern white rhinoceros is the most endangered mammal in the world. Sudan, the northern white rhino’s last male — once called the “most eligible bachelor in the world” by the dating app Tinder — died in March. That leaves only two females, Najin and Fatu, to represent the subspecies. CNN