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Hybrid white-rhino embryos created in last-ditch effort to stop extinction


Researchers have created hybrid rhino embryos as part of a 'Hail-Mary' attempt to rescue the northern white rhinoceros from all but certain extinction.

The embryos — which have now been frozen — contain DNA from northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) and a close relative subspecies and could be implanted into surrogates to yield animals that are a mix of both. The work is reported in a Nature Communications paper published on 4 July.

The research “is an impressive step forward for the whole field”, says stem-cell biologist Jeanne Loring, at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Her team hopes to use stem-cell technology to repopulate the rhinos.

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