Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2011
Publication Date: 9/11/2012
Citation: Blackburn, H.D., Godke, R., Purdy, P.H., Hiemstra, S., Woelders, H., Mariante, A., Pizzi, F., Boettcher, P. 2012. Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources. Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 12. Complete Book. FAO, Rome p. 222. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Livestock agriculture is in a period of tumultuous change and upheaval. General economic development, and population growth and mobility, have increased demand for livestock products, but have also placed pressures on the sustainability of rural environments and animal production systems. Livestock keepers will need to increase their efficiency to meet the rising demand while continually adapting their animal genetic resources to changing economic and environmental conditions. The genetic diversity necessary to allow this adaptation is in a state of decline, and the genetic resources that remain are not utilized in the most efficient way. The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2007a) confirmed that a significant proportion of the world’s 7000+ livestock breeds are at risk of extinction and that many countries lack the technical capacity to ensure the proper management and sustainability of their animal genetic resources. To address these problems, the Member Nations of FAO developed the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources (FAO, 2007b) (Global Plan of Action), which was adopted at the first International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Interlaken, Switzerland, in September 2007. The Global Plan of Action contains four strategic priorities areas that provide a basis for enhancing the sustainable use, development and conservation of animal genetic resources throughout the world. It calls on FAO to continue to provide technical guidelines and assistance and to coordinate training programmes in order to support countries in their efforts to implement the Global Plan of Action. Conservation of animal genetic resources is the third Strategic Priority Area of the Global Plan of Action. Conservation involves both in vivo maintenance and management of genetic diversity within livestock populations that are actively contributing to the livelihoods of their keepers or that are maintained in small numbers on research or demonstration farms and in vitro storage of genetic material that can be used at a later time to increase diversity in live populations or re-establish a population. A previous FAO publication on conservation – Secondary guidelines: management of small populations at risk (FAO, 1998) – covered both types of conservation. However, given the advances in technology and in the availability of information that have occurred during the past decade, the present guidelines will be complemented by a separate publication on in vivo conservation. The development and operation of a gene bank for cryoconservation of animal genetic resources requires technical capacity in genetics, reproductive physiology, cryobiology and data management. Coordination among a wide group of stakeholders is also essential. These guidelines were developed to provide an overview of the fundamental issues involved in developing and operating gene banks as elements in comprehensive national strategies for the management of animal genetic resources.