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How IVF could help bring a species back from the brink of extinction

With only two living females, the Northern white rhino is functionally extinct. Now, scientists are attempting to use assisted reproductive technology to save it

By Philip Ball  

Photo: Jan Husar/Zuma Press/PA Images

The Northern white rhinoceros of the grasslands and savannah of southern Africa has been hunted to extinction. But modern assisted reproduction technology might yet rescue it.

That’s according to a new study which demonstrates a dramatic possibility for developments in embryology to transform nature conservation.

The population of Northern white rhinos has been tiny since the 1980s, rarely exceeding 30 or so.

Currently, there are just two alive. Both were born in captivity and belong to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic but are…

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