With the increasing loss of species diversity, the cryopreservation of germ cells, embryos, tissues and specific cell lines of wild animals plays a central role in modern, science-based conservation. The bio-cryobank of the Leibniz-IZW preserves living samples of highly endangered and other species.
The Department of Reproduction Biology stores samples of sperm, testicular tissue, eggs, ovarian tissue and embryos from 105 different animal species, including samples from 20 different cat species. These are part of the "Felid Gamete Rescue Project", founded in 2007.
In addition to these samples, the Department of Reproduction Management also stores sperm of 45 wild animal species and fibroblast cell lines cultivated from 118 animal species. 14 of these 118 species are critically endangered, three are already extinct in the wild. The value of the Leibniz-IZW sperm banks has been demonstrated several times by the use of elephant and rhino sperm in artificial insemination (AI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) programmes.
The advancement of conservation and storage techniques is carried out in close cooperation with international institutions such as the "Frozen Ark" Consortium. The Leibniz-IZW is a member of the Association of German Cryobanks (Gemeinschaft Deutscher Kryobanken (GDK)). The aim is a global networking of all existing bio-cryobanks. This is the only way to ensure that valuable genetic and genomic samples from wild animals are stored in a coordinated manner and to a high standard.