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A world wide emergency programme for the creation of national genebanks of endangered breeds in animal agriculture1

  • E. Groeneveld (a1)


In response to the rapid loss of animal genetic resources, a world wide emergency program is proposed to create national genebanks on the basis of somatic cells. Contrary to other procedures, like storing deep frozen semen or embryos, collection and storage of somatic cells can be done cheaply and rapidly for any species. Only in this way can an emergency store of animal genetic resources be created fast enough to forestall the ongoing rapid erosion of animal biodiversity. While animals can already be produced from somatic cells for 10 species, this number will continue to rise in the future. A layered strategy is proposed which is based on collection and storage within individual countries, thus leaving execution of the program, responsibility and ownership of these national cryobanks with those countries. After a pilot study, more country genebanks could be created as funds become available. With a limited effort, the creation of a network of national genebanks of last resort are a realistic option.

Se propone un programa mundial de emergencia para crear bancos de genes nacionales basados sobre las células somáticas en respuesta a la rápida pérdida de recursos zoogenéticos. Al revés que con otros procedimientos, tales como el almacenamiento de semen o embriones congelados, la recogida y almacenamiento de células somáticas puede llevarse a cabo de forma más rápida y económica y para cualquier especie. Sólo de esta manera se puede establecer un stock de emergencia de recursos zoogenéticos de forma rápida para hacer frente a la futura erosión de la biodiversidad animal. Los animales pueden ser producidos desde células somáticas ya en 10 especies, y este número seguirá creciendo en el futuro. Se propone una estrategia por etapas basada en la recolección y almacenamiento a nivel de cada país, y dejando la ejecución del programa, la responsabilidad y propiedad de estos crio-bancos nacionales a cada uno de estos países. Tras un estudio piloto se podrán crear más bancos de genes nacionales según se vayan obteniendo mayores fondos. Con un esfuerzo limitado se puede considerar como una opción realista la creación de una red de bancos de genes nacionales.



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Corley-Smith, G.E. & Brandhorst, B.P.. 1999. Preservation of Endangered Species and Populations: A Role for Genome Banking, Somatic Cell Cloning, and Androgenesis? Molecular Reproduction and Development, 53: 363367.
Groeneveld, E., Yordanova, L., & Hiemstra, S.J.. 2004. Organizational Structure and Information Technological Support of National Gene Banks. Livestock Production Science. 89: 297304.
Kues, W.A. & Niemann, H.. 2004. The contribution of farm animals to human health. Scherf, B.D. (Ed.). 2000. World Watch List for domestic animal diversity. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, 3rd edition. United Nations. 1992.
United Nations Environment Program Convention on Biological Diversity. library/conventn/cbd.pdf.
Woolliams, J.A. & Wilmut, I.. 1999. New advances in cloning and their potential impact on genetic variation in livestock. Animal Science, 68: 245256.



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