Researchers from an Italian laboratory have successfully made two embryos from the northern white rhino from Kenya, which is seriously threatened with extinction. For this the scientists used the egg cells of the last two females of this rhino and the sperm cells of deceased males.

The Kenyan wildlife conservation organization, Kenya Wildlife Service, announced Wednesday that egg cells from the last two females have been successfully fertilized. These eggs were collected three weeks ago and brought to Italy.

In the meantime, the embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen for later introduction into a surrogate mother.

The last male northern white rhino died in March 2018. It was not possible for the 45-year-old Sudan to mate. The animal suffered from age-related ailments and eventually could no longer walk, whereupon a doctor decided to put the animal to sleep.

The last two northern white rhinos are the daughter of Sudan, Najin, and her daughter Fatu. Both animals live in the Ol Pejeta nature conservation center.

The rhino species has been strongly reduced due to intense poaching. The horns of the rhino are very expensive.

Both embryos come from the same female

Both embryos are made with egg cells from Fatu. These were fertilized with sperm cells from rhino Suni, who died in 2014. After ten days of incubation, fertilization proved successful.

It was not possible to develop embryos with Najin's ova. She used sperm cells from Saut, a rhino who died in 2003.

The two embryos were created using eggs collected from Fatu, the youngest of the two northern white rhinos and frozen sperm from Suni a deceased northern white rhino male.

Avatar AuthorOlPejetaMoment of places12: 04 - 11 September 2019


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