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Breakthrough in rhino IVF could save functionally extinct species

When the last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, died earlier this year, scientists imagined it would be just a matter of time before the species went entirely extinct. That was before a breakthrough in rhino IVF by Professor Thomas Hildebrandt at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, reports the BBC. Using the sperm from two dead male white rhinos and carefully extracted eggs from a living female, scientists were able to fuse the two into viable embryos.

While a successful transfer of embryos into a surrogate rhino has never been done, "everyone believed there was no hope for this sub-species," Hildebrandt said. "But with our knowledge now, we are very confident that this will work with northern white rhino eggs and that we will be able to produce a viable population."