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Informed Biobanking

Safeguarding genetic diversity for today’s conservation decisions and tomorrow’s recovery efforts.
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About the project

Revive & Restore, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has embarked on a bold endeavor to biobank U.S. endangered species. This is the first time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered on an agency-wide biobanking initiative.
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Why biobank?

“Biobanking” describes the intentional and indefinite preservation of living cells from wildlife, for the purposes of safeguarding genetic diversity and enabling genetic rescue. Biobanked samples have 3 immediate applications:
Wild herd of Przewalski’s horses (Equus przewalskii)
Preserving genetic diversity

When we cryopreserve living cells, we protect irreplaceable genetic diversity. This diversity is an essential resource for future restoration and recovery efforts.

Gel lanes in DNA sequencing
Managing with genomic insight

We can sequence DNA from biobanked materials to inform wildlife management decisions and identify opportunities to restore genetic diversity.

Rescuing with technology

We can combine biobanked materials with advanced biotechnologies to reintroduce genetic diversity, advance reproductive tools, and recover lost species.

How it works

Our biobanking process has four steps:
Collaborate icon | Revive & Restore


We collaborate with field biologists to ensure they have the resources necessary to successfully and seamlessly collect living tissue samples. To join the program, please contact Program Manager Ben Novak

Collect - Preserve | Revive & Restore


Once field biologists collect tissue samples, they are shipped to our cell culturing partner for analysis. Tissues are processed for primary cell culture or immediate cryopreservation.

Save for the future | Revive & Restore icon


Frozen cell lines and tissue are transferred to a national repository where they will be archived for long-term storage. Biobanked samples ensure that we protect genetic diversity for the future. 

Sequencing | Revive & Restore


Samples are also used to create an ultra-high-quality reference genome. This genome is publicly available to help researchers assess genetic diversity, identify at-risk populations, and take action for conservation.

See the process in action

Rodent traps are set in the field, as part of a population survey.

An endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) is captured.

Before release, a small piece of skin is clipped. Cells will be sequenced and cryopreserved for long-term storage.

Species cryopreserved so far

Mexican Wolf

Canis lupus baileyi
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Sonoran pronghorn

Antilocapra americana sonoriensis

Florida bonneted bat

Eumops floridanus
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Preble’s meadow jumping mouse 

Zapus hudsonius preblei

Why this work matters

Less than 14% of U.S. endangered plants and animals have living tissue cryopreserved.

Substantial efforts to preserve genetic diversity are underway, and one of the most important of these efforts is systematic, strategic biobanking of living cells. Biobanking is a vital safeguard for species’ genetic diversity, empowering their adaptation today and fueling recovery efforts in the future.

Special thanks to our partners, colleagues, and funders

This initiative was made possible through collaboration and forging critical partnerships with public and private organizations, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, ViaGen Pets & Equine, and U.S. Department of Agriculture: ARS. Additional collaborators include the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and St. Louis Zoo. We are grateful to our generous supporters, including Pershing Square Foundation and Re:wild.