Saving living biomaterials for U.S. Endangered Species, now while we can
Biobanking means saving living biological materials for the future. Seeds and cells can be stabilized at ultra-low temperatures to protect the characteristic cellular structure, genetic material and population variation for the long term.
Making an Impact
Advancing the Genetic Rescue Toolkit will require living biomaterials. Although we have recently demonstrated that cloning can turn back time, research is underway to develop even more powerful tools for genetic rescue. For example, our Biotechnology for Bird Conservation program will develop advanced reproductive methods for birds. As we continue to innovate new tools for conservation, we increasingly realize that the living tissues from today’s endangered species will enable future generations to take advantage of yet unimaginable biotechnologies.
Biobanking decouples sampling and genome sequencing. Biobanked materials enable genomic sequencing that can happen at any time and is not dependent on fresh samples. Conservationists can sequence samples as needed and then use the data to make informed decisions to better manage endangered populations. The Wild Genomes portfolio showcases examples of this approach. By saving living materials, conservationists can sequence to produce impacts today and simultaneously position the biotechnologists of tomorrow. We call this approach “Informed Biobanking”.
Ramping up to do better for U.S. endangered species
New cryobiology techniques and streamlined genome sequencing can enable affordable biobanking and sequencing at scale. We envision a bridge between field conservationists and a network of biorepositories working together to build a decentralized redundant system that can maintain cryopreserved materials from diverse taxa and regions.