Northern White Rhinos, Leibniz Institute, white rhinos

Scientists at the Leibniz Institute, Germany are hopeful as they have successfully placed a test-tube embryo of the nearly extinct Northern White Rhinos into a surrogate female.

The Government of Germany, have allocated a large sum of money to support the efforts to repopulate the nearly extinct species. Only two Northern White Rhinos are left in the world. Mother and Daughter who can’t bear children.

The last White Rhino male, Sudan passed away in March 2018 at the age of 45. He was being treated for many health and age-related issues in a conservancy in Kenya. He spent the last 10 years of his life in under heavy surveillance of armed guards.

Sudan’s death left only his offspring—daughter Najin and granddaughter Fatu with the burden of advancing their population. Naturally, they couldn’t do it on their own. Scientist at the Leibniz Institute For Zoo and wildlife research is trying two approaches to handle the situation.

One of which was fertilizing eggs harvested from the Najin and Fatu with the sperms of the late bull. And transfer the embryo thus obtained in the female’s body. Tough the embryo was successfully installed in the female White Rhino’s uterus. But scientist believes it couldn’t attach itself to the uterine wall.

As the number of eggs and sperms are limited, scientists have a plan B, to convert skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, which can be converted into any cells or tissues. With the stem cells the reproductive germ cells, sperm or eggs will be created. And this way Scientist will try to create a healthy and thriving population of Northern White Rhinos.

The resultant will be a genetically healthy population of Northern White Rhinos that will be able to survive in the wild.  Let’s hope the In vitro fertilization works for Northern White Rhinos, and we will witness the first birth of a baby Rhino in years.

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