Scientists Successfully Crowdfund Black Rhino Genome Sequencing Project

posted: 07/14/15
by: Danny Clemens
Mother and baby black rhino cuddling
Christophe Cerisier/iStock

An enterprising group of scientists has successfully raised over $15,000 to sequence the genome of the critically endangered black rhinoceros.

Led by University of Washington's Dr. Charles Murry, the crowdfunded project aims to possibly assist in bringing three extinct subspecies of black rhino back into existence.

"Genome sequencing is already being used to combat the loss of biodiversity," reads the campaign's website. "Having the black rhino genome will allow conservationists to gain insight into the dynamics of this endangered species."

The researchers plan to publish the results of their investigation in an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal.

Throughout the past century, the black rhino has fallen victim to extreme poaching and overexploitation. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that rhino populations fell from 850,000 at the beginning of the twentieth century to a mere 2,410 in 1995; three of eight subspecies were poached to extinction. The black rhino has rebounded over the past two decades thanks to concerted conservation efforts, but all remaining subspecies are still considered either vulnerable or critically endangered.

Click here for more information about the campaign on experiment.com

Learn more about the black rhino:

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Black Rhino Standoff

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