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Improving the Present and Preserving the Future

by • March 21, 2016 • No Comments

  • As the world of 3D printing continues to expand, new ways to solve problems, both old and new, are being discovered. It has may already proven successful in assisting to solve a few age-old problems, such as physical health problems that come with aging. For example, 3D printing has may already been used to turn it into a replica of a human heart in order to additional easily perform a delicate complicated surgery to replace a heart valve. It has in addition proved instrumental in reducing the time it takes to create other kinds of custom valves used in the making industry, many service industries, and in virtually every modern home and garden.

    One of the new problems it may assist to solve is the extinction of several species of animals. Scientists now know how fragile our ecosystem is and that every species plays an significant role in maintaining it. Through their study of bees, scientists have demonstrated the extent to that all species are interdependent upon one another for their survival. One of the many species facing extinction due to the activities of humans is the rhinoceros.

    Luckily, although modern weapons and travel innovation has been partly responsible for the plight of the rhinoceros, innovation may in addition provide the means to save them. The rhinoceros has long been hunted for its horn, that is believed to contain medicinal powers. Many folks believe that the powder created of the horn can prin factt hangovers, detoxify the body, reduce fever, and in fact assist as an aphrodisiac. Those beliefs have resulted in the price of rhinoceros’ horn powder literally being worth additional than its weight in gold. It is price on the black market, by weight, is in fact higher than gold, that has resulted in weight poaching and the near extinction of the species.

    In 2014, illegal poaching was responsible for the deaths an average of three rhinoceroses every day. According to Save the Rhino‘s many new figures, the number of southern white rhinos left alive is only 20,405. There are only five northern white rhinos left, and they are too old to recreate. Black rhinos, that number only 5,055, are in addition on the critically endangered list. Two other Asian species number less than 100.

    Matthew Markus, co-discovereder of Pembient, has a controversial plan to use 3D printing to assist save the rhino of extinction. He believes that if his company can recreate rhino horn in the lab, it can drive down the price to one tenth of its current price on the black market, and therefore reduce poaching. Applying a combination of 3D printing and reverse engineering, he is working towards creating a “bio-identical” product. In fact, he claims it can be a superb product, in that it won’t include pollutants discovered in wild horn.

    Rhino horn consists of manyly keratin, and the prototypes use wool keratin, that is much like to that in rhino horn. Pembient plans to use yeast cells to create keratins identical to those of rhino horns. Fungus can become a rhino keratin production center by inserting a gene into yeast that codes for rhino keratin. It is only a matter of time until the precise genes needed are synonymous and isolated, since the white rhino genome was sequenced in 2012. According to market research done in VietNam, 45% of the 500 folks surveyed said they may be caning to purchase manufactured horn instead of wild horn.

    But, the Save the Rhino charity, based in the UK, sturdyly disagrees with this method of assisting to stop poaching. They and the International Rhino Foundation issued a joint statement in that they voiced their opposition to the production of synthetic rhino horn. They believe that education and the eradication of superstitious, medically unsubstantiated beliefs of the medicinal qualities of rhino horn is the most way to stop poaching.

    Superstition is a sturdy force, and frequently takes generations to abolish. With so few remaining rhinos, and so many being killed so rapidly, Markus is hoping that he can use the scientific miracle of 3D printing to buy them the time needed to re-educate folks. With a combination of science and education, maybe rhinos won’t become our grandchildren’s dinosaurs and their children can yet be able-bodied to enjoy scenes like this.


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