Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Brief Communication
  • Published:

Induced pluripotent stem cells from highly endangered species


For some highly endangered species there are too few reproductively capable animals to maintain adequate genetic diversity, and extraordinary measures are necessary to prevent extinction. We report generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two endangered species: a primate, the drill, Mandrillus leucophaeus and the nearly extinct northern white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum cottoni. iPSCs may eventually facilitate reintroduction of genetic material into breeding populations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Characterization of drill iPSCs.
Figure 2: Characterization of northern white rhinoceros iPSCs.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Takahashi, K. et al. Cell 131, 861–872 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Yu, J. et al. Science 318, 1917–1920 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Takahashi, K. & Yamanaka, S. Cell 126, 663–676 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Liu, H. et al. Cell Stem Cell 3, 587–590 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Oates, J.F. & Butynski, T.M. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species version 2011.1 (2008; accessed 5 April 2011).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Howard, C.F. Jr. & Palotay, J.L. Lab. Anim. Sci. 25, 191–196 (1975).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. International Union for Conservation of Nature African Rhino Specialist Group. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species version 2011.1 (2008; accessed 5 April 2011).

  8. Wang, Y.-C. et al. Cell Res. (in the press).

  9. Trounson, A. Cell Stem Cell 4, 3–4 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Panula, S. et al. Hum. Mol. Genet. 20, 752–762 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Park, T.S. et al. Stem Cells 27, 783–795 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Yang, S. et al. J. Vet. Med. Sci. 73, 717–723 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Curnow, E.C. et al. Hum. Reprod. 25, 2465–2474 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Peluffo, M.C. et al. Biol. Reprod. 83, 525–532 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Nichols, S. et al. Reprod. Biomed. Online 20, 365–370 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hermes, R. et al. Theriogenology 72, 959–968 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Barch, M.J., Knutsen, T. & Spurbeck, J.L., (eds.) The AGT Cytogenesis Laboratory Manual (3rd edn.) (Raven Press, 1997).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Houck, M.L., Ryder, O.A., Vahala, J., Kock, R.A. & Oosterhuis, J.E. J. Hered. 85, 30–34 (1994).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


I.F.B.-N. was supported by an unrestricted gift from the Esther O'Keefe Foundation, and S.C.M. was supported by an internship from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (TB1-01186). The research was supported by the O'Keefe Foundation and the Millipore Foundation. We thank our collaborator, M. Parast, for the histopathological examination of the teratomas, I. Slavin, X. Liao and other members of the Loring lab for helpful discussions and assistance, and G. Ben-Nun and D. Barker for support.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



J.F.L., O.A.R. and I.F.B.-N. conceived the study. I.F.B.-N. designed and performed the experiments. S.C.M. assisted with tissue-culture work. O.A.R., M.L.H. and S.J.C. generated the fibroblast cell lines and karyotyped the cells. H.T.T., I.G. and T.R.L. assisted with teratoma formation. Y.-C.W. performed glycomic profiling. L.C.L. contributed to experiment design. I.F.B.-N. and J.F.L. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeanne F Loring.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–11, Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 2590 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Friedrich Ben-Nun, I., Montague, S., Houck, M. et al. Induced pluripotent stem cells from highly endangered species. Nat Methods 8, 829–831 (2011).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing