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Scientists produce 2 northern white rhino embryos

Northern white rhino.
Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

An international team of scientists and conservationists announced Wednesday they successfully produced 2 northern white rhino embryos, offering potential salvation for the nearly-extinct species, per AP.

The big picture: The northern white rhino population has been obliterated by poaching, with rhino horns in-demand on illegal markets, particularly in Asia. The last remaining male, named Sudan, passed away in 2018. Only 2 females are remaining: a mother named Najin and her daughter Fatu.

  • The embryos were produced in-vitro using eggs from the remaining females and frozen sperm from male rhinos that have died. The fertilized eggs are being kept in liquid nitrogen and will be later transferred to a female southern white rhino, which will serve as a surrogate mother.
  • Avantea Laboratories in Cremona, Italy, hosted the assisted reproduction process, with professor Cesare Galli overseeing the efforts.

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