Improved access to DNA from endangered species

Scientists will have improved access to DNA from endangered species, thanks to the development of the UK’s first national zoological biobank.

The CryoArks Biobank, led by Professor Mike Bruford from Cardiff University, is a major investment towards cryogenically preserving genetic materials for conversation and research. As the UK’s first national zoological biobank, Cardiff University reports it will give researchers across the UK access to tissues, cells and DNA from endangered species and other wildlife, which can be used in their research and for conservation planning.

Professor Mike Bruford, from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, said “CryoArks will expand and link together collections of preserved samples from laboratories, zoos, aquariums and museums from across the UK, providing scientists with an unparalleled opportunity to better manage and share this vast amount of genetic material. It will also allow researchers and conservationists to access material they never thought existed – including samples from wild populations and animals that are now extinct. CryoArks is making a step-change in the way that genetic material is curated, and is making it available to more scientists. From July 2018, we’ll have access to more samples than ever, helping us to find ways to protect the future of our planet’s wildlife.”

The £1m grant from the BBSRC brings together Cardiff University, the Natural History Museum, National Museums Scotland, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, University of Nottingham, and University of Edinburgh. The CryoArks Biobank will also partner with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Biobank.

Mike Bruford said “The CryoArks Biobank marks a huge leap forward in zoological biobanking in the UK. With the world facing unprecedented challenges for our wildlife, having access to this data will help us find solutions to protect our planet and its endangered species.”

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