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Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 4;9(1):2589. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04959-2.

Embryos and embryonic stem cells from the white rhinoceros.

Author information

1
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, D-10315, Berlin, Germany. HILDEBRAND@izw-berlin.de.
2
Freie Universität Berlin, D-14195, Berlin, Germany. HILDEBRAND@izw-berlin.de.
3
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, D-10315, Berlin, Germany.
4
Avantea, Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies, 26100, Cremona, Italy.
5
Max Delbrück Center, Berlin, Germany.
6
Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
7
School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, 3010, Australia.
8
ZOO Dvůr Králové, Štefánikova 1029, 544 01, Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Czech Republic.
9
Department of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-0054, Japan.
10
Institute of Stem Cell Research and the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility, Helmholtz Center Munich, 85764, Neuherberg, Germany.
11
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.
12
Fondazione Avantea, 26100, Cremona, Italy.
13
Avantea, Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies, 26100, Cremona, Italy. cesaregalli@avantea.it.
14
Fondazione Avantea, 26100, Cremona, Italy. cesaregalli@avantea.it.

Abstract

The northern white rhinoceros (NWR, Ceratotherium simum cottoni) is the most endangered mammal in the world with only two females surviving. Here we adapt existing assisted reproduction techniques (ART) to fertilize Southern White Rhinoceros (SWR) oocytes with NWR spermatozoa. We show that rhinoceros oocytes can be repeatedly recovered from live SWR females by transrectal ovum pick-up, matured, fertilized by intracytoplasmic sperm injection and developed to the blastocyst stage in vitro. Next, we generate hybrid rhinoceros embryos in vitro using gametes of NWR and SWR. We also establish embryonic stem cell lines from the SWR blastocysts. Blastocysts are cryopreserved for later embryo transfer. Our results indicate that ART could be a viable strategy to rescue genes from the iconic, almost extinct, northern white rhinoceros and may also have broader impact if applied with similar success to other endangered large mammalian species.

PMID:
29973581
PMCID:
PMC6031672
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-04959-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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