Genome Sequencing project is Important Step in Conservation of Black Rhinos

Genome Sequencing project is Important Step in Conservation of Black Rhinos

After successfully crowdfunding $16,500 for a genome sequencing project, researchers are expecting that they will able to save the endangered black rhinoceros, which has been poached to near extinction.

Lead researcher Dr. Chuck Murry of the University of Washington will sequence the genetic data of Ntombi, which is one of the remaining black rhinos in the world. Its genetic data will help to come up with biobank of information about the three subspecies of black rhino.

Three of the eight subspecies of the rhinos have been hunted to extinction. The researchers said that by sequencing the genomes of Ntombi, they will be able to know the key information about the species. After the raw sequencing has been done, the data will be aligned with genome of the southern white rhino.

In the last stage, the team will provide an open access version of the black rhino genome. As per the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), 96% of Africa's black rhino population was wiped out between 1970 and 1992.

The researchers have stated that they were inspired to have this project after seeing the fate of the northern white rhinoceros. Currently, there are just five northern white rhinoceros remaining in the world.

Murry said, "The [northern] white rhino is just about gone. But when you have 5,000 you have enough of a diverse gene pool to talk about maintaining a population".

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