Death of the last Sumatran rhinoceros in Malaysia it was the end of the species last November … although this perissodactyl mammal may have a second chance: a group of scientists are trying to restore the extinct breed with a project based on cloning technology using stem cells.
Research, led by a team from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), has launched an in vitro fertilization plan to “revive” the Dicerorhinus sumatrensis population.
Malaysian scientists have elaborated that the project is based on the use of dead rhinoceros tissues and cells to produce eggs and sperm. The goal? Simple: create this species in a similar fashion to a horse.
“Before the three rhinos (the last survivors in Malaysia) died, we received their cells and the cells are still alive, so I am very confident,” said Dr. Muhammad Lokman Bin Md. Isa, one of the researchers. Main, to the CNN chain. “If you have no cells or only tissue that is no longer alive, we can’t do anything with them. We can only put it in a book or a museum. But now we have a living being that we can use, ”he added.
The authors have stated that the frozen cells come from the hearts, lungs, brains and kidneys of rhinos; and they are currently working to define the best approach to the experiment.
The scientific project pursues two approaches: the first is aimed at the development of stem cells in egg cells and sperm with the aim of creating an embryo that will belong to a surrogate mother (probably another Sumatran rhino from another country or from another country) other species are implanted).
The second method prefers the egg of a surrogate animal, from which the nucleus is extracted in order to connect it to the body cell of a Sumatran rhinoceros. A technique like the one used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996.