Pembient

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Thank you for your lovely note. The whole process was a big learning experience for everyone involved. Our partners at the University of Washington deserve a lot of credit for their persistence. We tried to document the hurdles they encountered as best we could so that all of the project's backers understood the delays. We should have another update soon since we owe some backers raw sequence data and, of course, we want the whole community to be able to access the composite, annotated genome sequence being put together by the larger black rhino genome sequencing project. Stay tuned!
Sep 06, 2017
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Yes, it is true that gene-editing techniques (e.g., TALENs, CRISPR) can be used to create hornless cows [1]. Such techniques could be applied to rhinos; however, it is not clear that hornless rhinos are well-suited to the wild. The horn of a rhino is like a giant fingernail and can be painlessly trimmed. In some places, rhinos are temporarily dehorned to discourage poaching. Unfortunately, there is anecdotal evidence that these rhinos are less able to defend themselves [2]. As an aside, it is interesting to note that poaching pressure may be selecting for tuskless elephants in some parts of Africa [3]. So, it seems nature is still best at finding "manipulations" that work. [1] https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/01/the-fda-wants-to-regulate-gene-edited-animals-as-drugs/513686/ [2] https://www.jacarandafm.com/shows/the-complimentary-breakfast-with-rian-van-heerden/hippo-lands-brutal-attack-thirsty-rhino/ [3] http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/selection-tuskless-elephants
Aug 02, 2017
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Anil, we will send you a message containing a way to contact Dr. Murry. Additionally, we'll provide you with links to some of the other projects studying the genetic diversity of rhinos.
Mar 14, 2017
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Ina, thank you for your thoughts. We remain optimistic that the project will produce a genomic map of a black rhino, it just won't be from Ntombi the Rhino. We will continue to keep you, and the project's other backers, informed about how things are progressing. Stay tuned!
Mar 14, 2017
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Ina, Thank you for your thoughts. We remain optimistic that the project will produce a genomic map of a black rhino, it just won't be from Ntombi the Rhino. We will continue to keep you, and the project's other backers, informed about how things are progressing. Stay tuned!
Mar 14, 2017
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Thank you for your comment and concern. In the past, we've encouraged supporters to write to South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs. However, the University of Washington has recently informed us that the bottleneck now involves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We'll issue a new lab note when we know more about how the Univeristy wants to proceed.
Aug 31, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Casey, Thanks for posting! It is true that Pembient is working on the biofabrication of wildlife products; however, the Black Rhino Genome Project is purely a basic research project that we're supporting along with many others. As far as shark fin is concerned, there is a company called New Wave Foods that has made some noise about making an alternative [1]. Right now, though, they seem to be focused on creating a sustainable shrimp substitute. [1] http://ww2.kqed.org/futureofyou/2015/11/09/will-bioengineered-shark-fin-help-save-sharks/
Jul 18, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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If you read the petition, it isn't FOR or AGAINST the Black Rhino Genome Project. Rather, it simply asks that South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs have its conservation experts make a ruling on the Project's export permit. Thus, even if you're AGAINST the Project for whatever false or misinformed reason, you should still be FOR the petition.
Jul 06, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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To be clear: The Black Rhino Genome Project is materially no different than the Genome 10K Project (https://genome10k.soe.ucsc.edu/) or the Broad Institute's sequencing of a southern white rhino (http://www.broadinstitute.org/software/allpaths-lg/blog/?p=386). To oppose one of these conservation projects is to oppose all of them, and such a stance is fundamentally anti-science. Furthermore, let us reiterate that all inputs to and outputs from the Black Rhino Genome Project, along with the final disposal of all physical samples, will be solely controlled by researchers at the University of Washington and done in accordance with standard lab protocols. As with most sequencing projects, the final results will be made public, and no person or organization will have preferential access to the results.
Jul 06, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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To be clear: The Black Rhino Genome Project is materially no different than the Genome 10K Project (https://genome10k.soe.ucsc.edu/) or the Broad Institute's sequencing of a southern white rhino (http://www.broadinstitute.org/software/allpaths-lg/blog/?p=386). To oppose one of these conservation projects is to oppose all of them, and such a stance is fundamentally anti-science. Furthermore, let us reiterate that all inputs to and outputs from the Black Rhino Genome Project, along with the final disposal of all physical samples, will be done by researchers at the University of Washington in accordance with standard lab protocols. As with most sequencing projects, the final results will be made public, and no person or organization will have preferential access to the results.
Jul 06, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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You might have read about one of the subspecies of black rhinoceros, the western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes). Ntombi is a south-central black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor). There are an estimated 2,000 south-central black rhinoceroses left in the wild. We still owe you a more extensive update on the project before the end of June. Thank you for your patience in regards to this matter, and please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Jun 22, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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Hi! I've just replied to a similar query from Martin Crawford in Update #4 (https://experiment.com/u/9uRLtA#comment_15677). TLDR: Ntombi's sample is tied up in some red tape at present. More soon!
Mar 29, 2016
Sequencing the Black Rhinoceros Genome
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