The project's latest paper, titled "The neonatal southern white rhinoceros ovary contains oogonia in germ cell nests," represents a pioneering contribution to the field (Read the paper here).
The Rhino Fertility Project is dedicated to safeguarding rhinoceros fertility through innovative ovarian tissue culture methodologies. The primary focus lies in developing robust in-vitro culturing techniques, with the ultimate goal of generating viable eggs. The urgency of conservation is particularly evident for the critically endangered Northern White Rhinoceros, currently teetering on the brink of extinction with only two surviving females.
Notably, ovarian tissue specimens from Southern White Rhinoceros, the closest relative to the endangered Northern White, serve as the cornerstone of the project. The research has not only provided crucial insights into ovary function and morphology but also highlighted promising opportunities for fertility preservation.
The research findings indicate that despite advanced age, all examined ovaries still contain follicles. Further analysis of neonatal ovaries has revealed a population of cells with molecular characteristics indicative of mitotic activity, pluripotency, and germ cell properties, suggesting a significant potential for fertility preservation.
The Rhino Fertility Project aims to leverage these findings to develop techniques for culturing follicles from rhinoceros ovarian tissues, ultimately working towards the ambitious goal of generating eggs. The ongoing exploration and refinement of culturing methods, along with the generation of novel tools, signify the project's commitment to overcoming challenges in the field.
The potential impact of the Rhino Fertility Project extends beyond the survival prospects of the Northern White Rhino. The methods being developed hold significant potential to support conservation efforts for endangered species globally, opening the door for alternative approaches to species preservation.
For more information, please visit the Rhino Fertility Project page.
Paper: The neonatal southern white rhinoceros ovary contains oogonia in germ cell nests
Contributions will hugely help us with developing the innovative approach to save the White Rhino from extinction.
Rhino Fertility Project Donation Page