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The first webinar of ten on cryoconservation of animal genetic resources will take place on 18 May.

Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources is the overall topic for an upcoming webinar series held by the FAO in collaboration with NordGen Farm Animals. The first webinar out of ten will take place on 18 May.

Farm animal gene banks are important sources of genetic variation to ensure breeds’ long term survival and preservation of rare genotypes. An essential method in this context is cryoconservation – the collection and freezing of semen, ova, embryos or DNA segments in liquid nitrogen. During recent years, NordGen Farm Animals has assisted FAO with the new FAO Guidelines

“Innovations in cryoconservation of animal genetic resources.”

To raise awareness about animal gene banking, the FAO will be holding a series of webinars on cryoconservation in collaboration with NordGen Farm Animals. The webinars will follow the chapters in the FAO guidelines, in total ten webinars will be held during the next six months.

Rapid Development of Technology

– There was a need to update the guidelines since technology in this field is moving quickly. One purpose of the webinars is to promote the guidelines and the active utilization of cryobanks. It is about providing a safety backup, but also to use cryoconservation to help maintain the diversity within the live population, to support active research and so forth, says Paul Boettcher from the FAO Animal Genetic Resources branch. The first webinar is titled “Building a gene bank strategy” and will be presented by the lead authors Michele Tixier-Boichard, Sipke Hiemstra and Harvey Blackburn. – We want to encourage animal gene banking. There are many aspects to consider when staring up a cryobank. This webinar series is a very good way to be up to date and to go through all the necessary steps, says Mervi Honkatukia, Section Leader of NordGen Farm Animals. The webinars will take place on Teams with a first webinar on the May 18 at 17:00 (GMT+2). A link to the webinar

can be found here.

The webinars will be recorded and made available on NordGen's website.

The following topics will be covered in the ten webinars on cryoconservation:

  1. Building a gene bank strategy

  2. Implementation and organization

  3. Choice of biological material to be preserved

  4. Economics of gene banking

  5. Developing and using gene bank collections

  6. Collection and cryo-preservation of germ plasm and tissues

  7. Sanitary issues and recommendations

  8. Databases and documentation

  9. Legal issues: acquisition, storage and transfer of gene bank material

  10. Capacity building and training

  Top photo by Tuula-Marjatta Hamama.