Stem cell technology may help save endangered species

white-rhino

With the help of stem cells, some endangered species may be saved from eternal extinction.

Scientist say they have harvested the first set of stem cells from two species, Africa’s northern white rhinos and the baboon-like drill monkey, reports AFP. Eventually, the stem cells could theoretically be used to recreate these nearly-vanished animals without the need for a healthy mating pair.

Threats and destruction caused by humans — mainly poaching and loss of habitable land — has whittled down the number of northern white rhinos to only seven — yes, seven, all of which live in captivity. And past efforts to save the drill primates have failed due to the species tendency to develop diabetes when in captivity.

Researcher Jeanne Loring, PhD, and her colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in California, whose study was recently published in the journal Nature Methods, say they have made encouraging process with regards to the northern white rhino stem cells they’ve tested.

“The best way to manage extinction is to preserve species and habitats but that is not always working,” said Dr. Oliver Ryder, director of genetics at the San Diego Zoo and co-leader of the study. “Stem cell technology provides some level of hope that they won’t have to become extinct even though they have been completely eliminated from their habitat.”

Stem cells have successfully been used in the past to grow specific types of bodily tissue. The next step for doctors Loring and Ryder is to successfully create sperm and egg cells for the rhinos and drills. If possible, this could enable them to create baby animals with more genetic diversity than currently exist, which would make them better able to withstand dangers of their new world.

Of course, the need to bring animals back from extinction, while technically an achievement, is actually a sign of how dire things have become for some of Earth’s most fragile creatures. And even if scientists are able to revive dying creatures, it doesn’t mean we will leave them any place to survive.

[Image via Jason Prince/Shutterstock]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.