Seven eggs harvested from the nearly extinct white rhinos have been successfully matured and artificially inseminated. Scientists injected frozen sperm cells from two white rhino bulls into the ten eggs collected from the world’s last two white rhinos females, Najin and Fatu. Seven out of ten eggs were used for fertilization purposes.
Cesare Gali, who is part of the international consortium of scientists assigned with this task and founder of Avantea, an Italy-based laboratory specialized in animal reproduction, says the team was “(…) surprised by the high-rate of maturation achieved”.
The next step is to ensure the fertilized eggs turn into viable embryos, before being transferred to a surrogate mother, a southern white rhino female. We will have to wait until the 10th of September, when the team will announce whether the embryo development was successful.
Image Credit: Elodie Sampere (OL PEJETA) | Ami Vitale