Sep 11, 2019

Scientists produce 2 northern white rhino embryos

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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17 states hit Trump administration with endangered species lawsuit

A Bald Eagle in Alaska. Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

17 states filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration Wednesday in an effort to try and stop the rollback of the Endangered Species Act.

Why it matters: The landmark act from the Nixon administration helped save species including the bald eagle and grizzly bear from extinction, per the New York Times. The Trump administration claims the changes will help reduce regulatory burden on the Interior Department. The new rules were to take effect Thursday, AP notes.

Go deeper: 3 billion birds have been lost in U.S. and Canada since 1970

Keep ReadingArrowSep 26, 2019

Women earn small fraction of patents issued, research shows

Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/picture alliance via Getty Image

Women account for less than 13% of all patents applicants worldwide, according to a study by the UK's Intellectual Property Office.

Why it matters: Researchers cite a lack of women working in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — for the uneven ratio.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019

Merriam-Webster adds "they" as a nonbinary pronoun

Photo: Handout/Getty Images

Merriam-Webster announced updates this week to its dictionary, adding 533 new words and meanings to its inventory, including the use of the word "they" as a singular, nonbinary pronoun.

Why it matters: A growing number of Americans don't identify as male or female and use "they" or "them," rather than traditional pronouns. Some states now allow people to have an "X" on their driver's license, rather than male or female. Merriam-Webster's move also weakens the common argument against the singular "they" — that it is grammatically incorrect.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019