Utilization Of The Frozen Germplasm

Stored genetic resources should be used on a regular and systematic basis, and not considered a frozen museum archive. The strategies for maintaining genetic diversity should be managed by a governing body, as exemplified by the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, now known as IUCN-The World Conservation Union.[7] In Great Britain, the Heritage Genebank Project, managed by The Sheep Trust,[8] was established during the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak to ensure the survival of rare and regional breeds of sheep, e.g., the Rough Fell and the Herdwick breeds (Fig. 1).

Examples where a germplasm bank has been valuable are the black-footed ferret in North America and the cheetah. Artificial insemination has been used successfully in the giant panda[9] and the elephant[10] although in the latter, cryopreserved semen was not used. These examples of flagship species help to publicize the importance of

Fig. 2 Koalas born after artificial insemination with fresh semen a promise for the future for germplasm banking. (Photograph supplied by Dr. Steve Johnston, courtesy of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia.) (View this art in color at www.dekker.com.)

Fig. 2 Koalas born after artificial insemination with fresh semen a promise for the future for germplasm banking. (Photograph supplied by Dr. Steve Johnston, courtesy of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland, Australia.) (View this art in color at www.dekker.com.)

GRB and give promise of future developments. However, there is currently need for further research to develop suitable methods for each species since existing methods are rarely applicable without modification.1-4-1 In some instances (e.g., the koala), basic sperm cell physiology is largely unknown and requires more extensive research, but some work is in progress (Fig. 2).

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