Genome Resource Banking

Genome resource banking (GRB) is defined as the storage of gametes and embryos from threatened populations with a deliberate intention to use them in a breeding program at some future occasion.

Genetic material from rare and endangered species can be collected and preserved indefinitely in liquid nitrogen (-196°C). These genetic samples can provide "insurance" for the future against catastrophic events and can potentially be a resource allowing reintroduction of genes into a population via artificial insemination or embryo transfer.

SEZARC has the expertise to collect and cryopreserve biological samples from a wide range of mammalian species and conserve them for the future. A unique aspect of genome resource banking is "gamete rescue." If an animal dies but the testes can be recovered and stored at 4°C for up to 24 hours, then viable sperm can be recovered and cryopreserved, ensuring the genes from that individual are not lost from the population. For example, SEZARC has rescued and cryopreserved sperm from a number of Florida panthers killed by vehicular trauma or intraspecific aggression, ensuring their genes are maintained for the future.

Although genome resource banking is often associated with cryopreserved semen, it is important to remember that genome resource banking may also store other biological samples such as whole blood, blood products, tissue, urine, etc. These biomaterials can be an important resource for future studies, including epidemiological studies of disease incidence, nutrition analyses and genetics studies. As such, a repository of biological samples can be an important resource for an endangered species. SEZARC maintains a bank of these important samples from a range of mammalian species, including the cheetah, okapi, white rhino, gerenuk and other antelope species.

If you are interested in supporting SEZARC studies, please contact us.