Today on June 25th, 2019, a joint press conference taking place in Berlin has announced the launch of the research project BioRescue for the rescue of the Northern White Rhino, which is threatened with extinction.
After the world first results published last year in Nature Communications in obtaining viable embryos and embryonic stem cell lines from the White Rhinoceros at Avantea laboratories, the German Government has decided to support the project for the rescue of the Northern White Rhinoceros with a grant of 4.2 million euro to the German Institutions involved (IZW and MDC).
The success of the initiative is dependent, as it has been for the production of the first embryos, on the collaboration of Avantea as a leading embryotechnology laboratory and other international institutions like Dwur Kralove Safari Park for access to the animals and Kyushu University (Japan) for germ cell differentiation. Avantea will fund the initiative with its own resources and with donations received through its Foundation.
Oocytes of Northern White Rhino at Avantea’s laboratories.
Avantea will be a major player in the project by receiving oocytes from SW (Southern White) and NW females to produce more embryos for the embryo transfer trials and NWR pure bred embryos as well as the derivation of male embryonic stem cell lines. Somatic cell nuclear transfer will also be evaluated using oocytes of different species and somatic cells of NWR.
The two remaining females: Najin e Fatu
The situation for the Northern White Rhino is particularly critical: after the death of the last bull, Sudan, in March 2018, only two females remain: Najin and Fatu. They live in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Avantea will continue to provide its world leading expertise in reproductive biotechnologies as a key contribution to help safeguard the future of the Northern White Rhinoceros.