University of Illinois Researchers are Saving Rhino Species on Brink of Extinction

In *All by Ag is America

Researchers at the University of Illinois are collaborating with colleagues from around the world, including scientists at the University of Adelaide, Queens University, and the National Museum of Natural History, have published a study detailing the genetic profile of Sumatran rhinoceroses in the hopes of bringing the species back from the brink of extinction with a diverse genetic profile.

With current populations at staggeringly low numbers and bred primarily in captivity, every single living Sumatran rhino is genetically invaluable. So, preserving their genetic material from is crucial for the species’ survival.

In a population of 10, the rhinoceros loses 5% of its genetic diversity with each generation of offspring. Professor Alfred Roca of the University of Illinois, the study’s principal investigator, recommends translocation as a solution because the total Sumatran rhino population is estimated to be as small as 30 animals. Researchers also urge conservationists to translocate the two subspecies of Sumatran rhinos to breed them as one to preserve the overall species. Researchers lead by the University of Illinois are ensuring the longevity of the species by advocating for the creation of a genetic bank. In the future, this genetic bank would be utilized to preserve the species through in vitro fertilization.

To learn more about this research from the University of Illinois, read more here.

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