Conservation Biology

Can modern technology prevent extinction?

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Science  13 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6287, pp. 784-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6287.784-g

The northern white rhinoceros is a critically endangered species.

PHOTO: © DANITA DELIMONT CREATIVE/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Rising temperatures, habitat loss, and increasing urbanization mean that many animal species are on the brink of extinction. However, Saragusty et al. suggest that advances in stem cell and assisted reproductive technologies might allow scientists to save severely endangered species and to bring extinct species back to life. Examining the case of the northern white rhinoceros, an instance in which only three nonreproducing individuals are known to exist, the authors outline the potential and caveats of applying current methodological advances to save this iconic species. Furthermore, the guidelines laid out for the northern white rhino are likely to be applicable to many other critically endangered species.

Zoo Biol. 10.1002/zoo.21284 (2016).

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