There are 2 Northern White Rhinos left in the world. Both female.
Yet because someone thought to preserve tissue samples back in the 1970s without any idea of the possibilities, there might be a chance to bring this species back.
Marisa Korody is a conservation geneticist at the San Siego Zoo in the Institute for Conservation Research.
She describes the challenges of producing inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and all the steps from there to someday producing the next generation of northern white rhinos.
Spoiler: It takes a lot of work to do this and there has been some luck involved as well. Rhinos aren’t exactly a common experimental animal. For example, a team at the zoo has trained southern white rhinos to stand for blood draws and other procedures that may allow them to eventually serve as surrogates. (The two female northern white rhinos can’t carry embryos.)
We also talked a bit about Marisa’s career. It’s a big move from study sparrows to rhinos. Probably bigger than Salmonella genetics to podcasting ;-)
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