Embryos and embryonic stem cells from the white rhinoceros

Thomas B. Hildebrandt, Robert Hermes, Silvia Colleoni, Sebastian Diecke, Susanne Holtze, Marilyn B. Renfree, Jan Stejskal, Katsuhiko Hayashi, Micha Drukker, Pasqualino Loi, Frank Göritz, Giovanna Lazzari, Cesare Galli

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16 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2589
JournalNature communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Hildebrandt, T. B., Hermes, R., Colleoni, S., Diecke, S., Holtze, S., Renfree, M. B., ... Galli, C. (2018). Embryos and embryonic stem cells from the white rhinoceros. Nature communications, 9(1), [2589]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04959-2