Biobanking is crucial for conservation

Biobanking is the preservation of biological materials, such as cryopreserving cells, gametes, seeds, and tissues.

By freezing viable materials, we secure future access to genetic diversity and simultaneously aggregate a vast library of biological information that will be available to current and future generations of scientists.


Access to cryobanked cells and other banked biomaterials has been crucial to studies of ecology, evolution, genomics, and the health of wildlife, fostering an unprecedented understanding of life on earth. Banked materials also serve as the foundation for a pivotal new set of conservation options-for example, assisted reproduction technologies including cloning, as well as the many more technological advances that can be anticipated-that afford us the opportunity to safeguard genetic capital, support population sustainability, and reduce extinction risk.

Biobanking is the conservation intervention that presents the lowest risk today for the highest potential impact in the future.

There is a growing recognition for the urgency of biobanking

test tubes and frozen specimen

Biobanking is an explicit component of the One Plan approach, helping bridge ex situ and in situ conservation. It is also an integral component of the One Health approach and contributes to several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Nagoya Protocol and Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework propel the topic of biobanking to the forefront of global discussions about conservation. IUCN's 2020 Resolution 079 (WCC-2020-Res-079) specifically calls for the establishment of a collaborative global biobanking network.

About the Animal Biobanking for Conservation Specialist Group

The Animal Biobanking for Conservation Specialist Group (ABC SG) was established in 2022, with a mission to create a global network for sharing information and expertise to establish facilities that cryopreserve viable animal cells and tissues.

The ABC SG promotes cooperation amongst the world's biobanks: fostering a culture of transparency around the existence, quantity, and location of banked samples is essential for effective management of collections. We encourage the conservation community-ranging from individuals to institutions-to consider incorporating sample collection for the purpose of biobanking into their efforts, and to do so with collaboration and inclusion in mind.


The ABC SG is Co-chaired by Oliver A. Ryder of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (USA) and Boripat Siriaroonrat of Mahidol University (Thailand).

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