Biotech startup Pembient is planning to deploy the forces of DNA technology and economics to save the rhino. It's risky plan, that could undermine other efforts, but with poaching out of control and subpopulations on the verge of extinction Pembient argue this is the best bet for the survival of the rhinoceroses in the wild.
The problem is familiar. The belief that rhino horn treats fevers or beautifies the skin, has stoked a global industry with prices soaring to $65,000 per kilogram ($30,000 /pound). Rhino horn is just keratin, the same fibrous protein you have in your finger nails and hair. No one is ransacking your house to steal your nailclippings because human keratin is not in short supply. So Pembient wants to take keratin, add some rhino DNA and 3D print the resulting product into a horn indistinguishable from one taken from a living rhino.