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Genetic engineering used to create 3 embryos of northern white rhino

In early July, the ephemeral promise of a new life blinked into existence. Not in the usual way, but on a clear microscope slide in a sterile lab in Cremona, Italy, thousands of miles from the creature’s ancestral territory in sub-Saharan Africa. Shortly after, lab technicians plunged it into liquid nitrogen, freezing the creature’s development by rapidly bringing its temperature to −196° Celsius (-321° Fahrenheit).

Though only a few cells in size, the embryo, one of three produced this spring, represents hope for the virtually extinct northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni).

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