Conservation is about protecting and nurturing species so that they can survive, not only now but also into the future. Ideally this means protecting genetically diverse populations and not simply breeding a few individuals. In principle, cryobiology offers the means to help maintain genetic diversity by storing genetically important germplasm that could reinvigorate populations in the future. Unfortunately the technical problems associated with this ideal goal still provide a major barrier to the practical use of cryopreservation technology. Sometimes these are technical problems with the cryobiology, but lack of basic biological information about unusual species, coupled with difficulties in obtaining such information, means that progress will be possible with only a few species that are subject to intensive scrutiny. The opportunities nevertheless exist for cryobiologists and reproductive biologists to make useful and global contributions to species conservation. I argue here that there are often two mutually suspicious groups of biologists, who do not interact or even understand each others goals. If conservation biologists and biotechnologists were more prepared to join forces and share their expertise, there would be much improved prospects for achieving lasting success in the conservation of a small, but well targeted, number of threatened species.
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Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: January 1, 2008
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CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation
The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.