In the wake of Rio convention and in particular after the adoption of the Interlaken Declaration, the set up of the genebanks in animal agriculture has become an accepted high priority objective. A diverse range of materials can be used for cryogenic backup, such as semen, embryos, oocytes, and somatic cells differing in complexity and cost of collection. Often the setup of the genebank will be national endeavor, as it can be viewed as a repository of a country’s genetic heritage. While the condition and operations of national genebanks will be very different from one country to next, all of them require a system of documentation. This is where CryoWeb comes into the picture: it has been developed as the documentation component of the concept for a worldwide emergency program for the set up of the genebanks. Where ever genebanks are setup in animal agriculture, CryoWeb is intended to be used as an out of the box system for managing repositories.
Introduction to National genebanks
National genebanks are repositories of genetic material stored in liquid nitrogen a -196oC. at this temperature, the genetic materials can be stored indefinitely, and after thawing, following a appropriate protocol, be introduced in animal breeding. For semen, this procedure is straight forward, following everyday practice. Implanting embryos is somewhat more involved, but also a standard practice in many species, while reconstruction of animals through nuclear transfer and cloning on the basis of somatic cells is still tedious and expensive.
Database and Documentation for gene bank
Proper and accessible documentation is vital for the future use of any stored gene bank material. A primary focus in the documentation of samples in a gene bank is development,implementation and utilization of a database. A database is essential because it is the management system that will catalog, summarize, query and retrieve information required to establish and operate the gene bank. Basic information about gene bank collections should be easily accessible without the need for any additional information from outside the database. Gene bank management relies on the database to manage routine genebank operations (quality control testing, sample identification, sample location, current inventory, etc) and to support management decisions. The database serves as the primary conduit for receiving information about samples in the collection. The outflow of information is just as essential as incoming information because potential requestors have a way to view the collection and make choices about their request. To insure the broadest access to the information contained in the database it needs to be linked to the internet. Addition of internet access facilitates awareness about the country’s genetic resources programme and makes it easier for the diverse users to access collection information and make use of the germplasm collection. It is absolutely critical that in the establishment of the gene bank the database is recognized as being of central importance, both in terms of day-to-day management but also allowing potential users of the gene bank to access what is current contained in the collection.
With the international acceptance of so called Rio Convention in 1992, conservation of biodiversity has become a major issue not only in wildlife, but also in animal agriculture. While conservation in wild life usually focuses on the species, breeds are focus of interest in animal agriculture. Already in 1979 scientists stipulated conservation of breeds of farm animals.
Contrary to animal agriculture, plants genebanks have been in operation for long time. Consequently, documentation has also been developed.
More recently, a proposal was made for a worldwide emergency program for the creation of National genebanks of endangered breeds in animal agriculture based on low cost collection and storage of somatic cells. The sampling technique was tested under field conditions on six breeds from three species. The procedure is intended to be deployed rapidly to countries with little infrastructure, and to operate identically on all mammalian species. An integral part of a physical genebank is sufficient documentation of the stored samples, which has to be equally easy and rapid to install and operate, which only requires limited or no adaptation prior to country installation. Based on the implementation for National genebank in the Netherlands, the structure of new system was further simplified to allow general applicability without modification.
Important international web links
Important national web links