Every day animals are pushed to the brink of extinction, either through habitat reduction or loss of superior genetics when animals die through natural disasters, diseases, poaching etc. Zoological Parks and Private Ranches play a big role in species conservation with captive breeding programs, but up till now the reliance was mostly on old-fashioned mating.
Although the traditional conservation approach has had much success, the number one risk with small isolated populations is breeding with close relatives. When this happens, the genetic makeup of the individuals becomes more and more uniform, and genetic flaws become increasingly common. This phenomenon is called inbreeding. The genetic diversity that currently exists in captive and small wild populations will steadily dwindle without continues input from other populations.
Cryopreservation of endangered species, like the Black Rhino, can help reintroduce genetic diversity to existing populations. Who knows, someday it might offer a pathway to reintroduce extinct species from cryopreserved genetic material.
Because of space limitations it is simply not possible for Zoos and animal parks to ensure adequate genetic diversity. Long term plasm storage can minimize the holding space requirements and increase the number of species that can be conserved through breeding programs. The accumulation of genetic reserves into extant breeding populations will ensure continuance of genetically diverse species. Cryopreservation of gametes and embryos provides the most powerful tool for conservation, by allowing use of long dead donors as the genetic parents of future generations.
We can now collect germ plasm in the wild to sustain genetic diverse breeding programs, without removing free-ranging animals from the field.
Immediate action is required! Help us to stop the depletion of thousands of years of mutation and natural selection.
“Cryopreservation of gametes and embryos can provide a powerful tool for conservation, by allowing use of long dead donors as the genetic parents of future generations “