Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Down To The Last Three: Can Stem Cell Save Northern White Rhinos From Extinction?

By A. Vila
Jun 17, 2016 02:00 AM EDT

In a quest to halt mammalian extinction, scientists are using stem cells and assisted reproduction technology. But with only three northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) left, can science save them from completely vanishing?

Sudan, Najin and Fatu--who are kept at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya--cannot breed naturally because they are related. It is with this situation that scientists came up with an audacious plan to save them from the brink of extinction.

According to, the process, which will commence in few months, will include making stem cells out of adult rhino skin cells through a process called iPS, or induced pluripotent stem cells.

The pluripotent cells, as mentioned in the article, will allow for the development of genetic diversity within the species, allowing them to reproduce.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) will then be used to create embryos. These will then be placed in a surrogate female northern white rhino.

The rest of the process will include hoping that it will work and the experiment will revitalize the population.

The procedure will be the first of its kind.

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