Nav: Home

Rhino genome results

January 25, 2017

Genetic Resources Banked in the Frozen Zoo® Hold Key to Recovery for Critically Endangered Northern White Rhinoceros

A study by San Diego Zoo Global reveals that the prospects for recovery of the critically endangered northern white rhinoceros -- of which only three individuals remain -- will reside with the genetic resources that have been banked at San Diego Zoo Global's Frozen Zoo®. Frozen cell cultures housed here from nine northern white rhinos contain genetic variation that is missing in surviving individuals of this subspecies of rhinoceros, which is now extinct in the wild.

Tate Tunstall, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research -- home to the Frozen Zoo -- presented new genomic data at the Plant and Animal Genome Meeting (PAG XXV) in San Diego on Jan. 17, 2017, to evaluate the extent of genetic diversity in the Frozen Zoo cell cultures with that of the related subspecies, the southern white rhinoceros.

"It would appear that the levels of genetic diversity of the northern white rhinoceros population represented by the viable cells banked in the Frozen Zoo is comparable to that of the southern white rhinoceros, which was able to recover from a severe genetic bottleneck," stated Tunstall.

Tunstall presented the complete genome sequences of four southern white rhinos and nine northern white rhinos. Genome-wide levels of genetic diversity and inbreeding in both southern and northern white rhinos were examined, in the hope of aiding future efforts toward genetic rescue and assisted reproduction. The recent population history and demography of these two white rhino populations also were examined, and potential regions under selection were identified in the northern white rhino suggesting local adaptation in this population. This may be the first example of a prospective analysis to determine whether sufficient genetic diversity exists for population recovery of any endangered animal. The southern white rhino experienced a severe population decline due to overhunting in the early years of the 20th century. Through careful conservation management, the subspecies recovered from a low of an estimated 30 to 100 individuals to a population in excess of 18,000 individuals.

Of the five recognized rhinoceros species, the northern white rhino, the Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino are listed as critically endangered; the black rhino is listed as vulnerable; and only one -- the southern white rhino--is listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
-end-
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children's hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Zoological Society of San Diego

Related Conservation Articles:

Helping conservation initiatives turn contagious
New research shows that conservation initiatives go viral, which helps scientists and policymakers better design successful programs more likely to be adopted.
Overturning the truth on conservation tillage
Conservation tillage does not lower yield in modern cropping systems.
Talking to each other -- how forest conservation can succeed
Forest conservation can be a source of tension between competing priorities and interests from forestry, science, administration and nature conservation organizations.
Better conservation through satellites
The use of satellite telemetry in conservation is entering a 'golden age,' and is now being used to track the movements of individual animals at unprecedented scales.
Maximizing conservation benefits
Overexploitation and population collapse pose significant threats to marine fish stocks across the globe.
More Conservation News and Conservation Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...