Struggling to save black rhinos, scientists are crowdfunding to preserve their DNA
Ntombi is a six-year-old black rhino from South Africa, one of around 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild. She's also the starting point for what a team of scientists hope to be a "bio-bank" of genetic information that could be used to save the species.
Ntombi would be the first black rhino to have its genome sequenced, part of a larger trend of conservationists gathering the genetic data of threatened animals to protect them from extinction. The research will be used to strengthen understanding of the species and how it evolved, but it will also lay the bedrock for lab-grown horns that could be used to flood black markets and drive down demand for poaching.
Researchers in the project also hope that a genetic library could, one day, be used to engineer DNA and bring back species that have been lost.
Full article available at The Washington Post.
Photo by Justin Jensen.