Biotech startup Pembient devised a system for printing bioengineered synthetic rhino horns they hope will kill the big business of poaching.
From IEEE Spectrum:
Pembient’s process, (CEO Matthew) Markus explained briefly, involves running synthetic keratin through chemical reactions to turn it into the specific type of keratin protein that makes up natural rhino horn. The company adds rhino DNA to the mix, and then turns it into a keratin “ink” that’s compatible with a 3-D printer. Finally, Pembient “grows” the horn.
Markus expects the first products that use this synthetic rhino horn to reach the market in Beijing later this year. One such product under development: a rhino beer. What the company calls “essence of rhino horn” will also be used in other beverages, skin care products, and medicines.
We can meet the demand for horns at one-eighth the black-market price,” Markus says. “We’ll make money; the poaching syndicates won’t.”
Biotech and 3-D Printing Could Make Rhino Poaching Pointless
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