First test-tube rhino embryos produced

Cd save animals at extinction risk

(ANSA) - Milan, July 4 - The first test-tube embryos of rhinoes have been produced in Italy by the same team led by Cesare Galli that cloned the first bull Galileo and the first horse Prometea, according to an article in Nature Communications. The embryos may pave the way for saving animals on the brink of extinction like the northern white rhino, of which only two females survive.
    In the Cremona lab of the Avantea group, specialised in assisted reproduction for large animals, researchers grew 30 eggs taken from southern white rhino females, of which there are more than 21,000 animals.
    Some 17 were fertilised with the sperm of the same sub-species, while the other 13 were fertilized with the frozen sperm of dead northern white rhinoes.
    Seven embryos were this obtained, blocked at day 12 of their development.
    Some of them have been frozen, awaiting transplant into the wombs of surrogate mothers, while others have been used to obtain stem cells, precious for testing techniques to produce new gametes permitting an increase in the genetic diversity of rhinoes.