Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genebanks: Preserving genetic diversity for Earth’s future

17.02.2003


The idea of freezing and storing the genetic materials of endangered plants and animals in some offsite location sounds more like a Jurassic Park sequel than a reality, but it is something that is in the works.



Endangered species protection programs, zoos, and plant conservatories work to preserve the Earth’s animal and plant population, but in order to preserve the richness of biological diversity, alternatives such as gene banking must be used, scientist said today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

As endangered species – both plant and animal – disappear from their natural habitats and become limited to zoos and animal parks, researchers are searching for alternatives to conserve these species.


In situ conservation, which aims to keep a species in their ecosystem or habitat, is a top priority. However, in order to protect endangered species, there have been additional ex situ conservation efforts, protecting endangered species in zoos and botanical gardens, and placing their DNA into gene banks. Thanks to recent developments in cryobiology, it is possible to keep tissues alive and unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years.

Using cryopreservation technologies, the Zoological Society of San Diego has created a "Frozen Zoo," which stores viable cell lines from more than 3,200 individual mammals, birds, and reptiles, representing 355 species and subspecies.

Oliver Ryder, the head of genetics at the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species at the society, said that while there should be a continued effort to preserve species in their habitats and in living collections such as zoos and botanical gardens, much of the future will be based on DNA or cell and tissue materials preserved in banks.

Ryder added that these banking efforts are often misinterpreted as we don’t have to save endangered species because they’re in the freezer. Instead, banking adds to researchers’ ability to knowledgeably contribute to conservation instead of working through guesswork. By studying animals’ DNA, scientists can learn genetic aspects important to animal survival. Armed with that information, researchers can determine the best conservation action. He added that while this won’t fix the problem, it is one way to forestall it.

Kathyrn Kennedy is the president and executive director of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) in St. Louis, Mo. The consortium’s mission is to conserve and restore the rare native plants of the United States. She emphasized the importance of ex situ conservation in securing and planning for the recovery of endangered species.

She noted that the first line of defense against losing an endangered plant is to get genetically representative samples from the wild. Seeds are often the best way to store this material. The CPC currently has 607 species in its national collection.

Stanley Leibo, a cryobiologist at the University of New Orleans, was among the first to report successful cryopreservation of embryos approximately thirty years ago. Since then he has worked on freezing embryos and gametes of many different species.

Leibo reviewed a broad range of issues in the long term viability of preserved cells with particular reference to his experience in the preservation of sperm and oocytes. Because of species differences, cryobiology is not easy to do, but necessary to preserve the richness of the planet’s genetic diversity.



The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science. Founded in 1848, AAAS serves 134,000 members as well as 272 affiliates, representing 10 million scientists.

Monica Amarelo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aaas.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The disappearance of common species
01.02.2018 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>