Biotech Firm 3D Prints Fake Rhino Horn That’s Genetically Identical To The Real Thing
Picture source: Jiri Balik/Shutterstock
Highlight: “Rhino horn is just keratin, the same fibrous protein contained in human finger nails and hair… The company 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.”
Insight: Like in human organ transplants, complications often arise from compatibility mismatch (e.g. blood type). In order to effectively implement a prosthesis onto living tissues, compatibility should be looked into and modern DNA technology now allows to do just that by customizing the part to ensure fitness..
3D printing technology could well be the boost that biomimetic needs to take off. Going much beyond producing replacement parts for injured animals, 3D printing could easily take traits identified from animals and plants and print enlarged versions (e.g. insect leg joints) to try them out for different applications (e.g. construction) . Identified traits within species that could potentially have applications for our needs will now be much easier to try-out thanks to 3D printing technology…
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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…