Team one step closer to artificial rhino eggs

Known as Fatu and Najin, a pair of females at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya are the world’s last two living northern white rhinos. Credit: Jan Zwilling/IZW

To prevent the extinction of the northern white rhino, the international consortium BioRescue is attempting to create artificial egg cells from stem cells. In a recent study in Scientific Reports, the team says it’s one step closer to its goal.

Only two northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) in the world—both female. Researchers are trying to take skin cells to create stem cells that could develop into immature egg cells, or oocytes. In their latest study, they say they have succeeded in creating the stem cells.

“Generating functional eggs of the northern white rhinoceros would be the crowning achievement of our research,” said Sebastian Diecke, who leads the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, which is conducting the research.

If the effort is successful, the team hopes it could serve as a model to recover other endangered species—or even revive those already extinct.

Read more from the MDC here.