Department of Reproduction Management: Projects

BioRescue – Advanced reproductive technologies for saving critically endangered mammals like the northern white rhinoceros

Only two Northern white rhinos are left in the world, both are females. Can we still save these animals from extinction? Together with international partners from science and conservation the BioRescue consortium aims at making the seemingly impossible a reality by developing advanced methods of assisted reproduction (aART) and stem cell associated techniques (SCAT).

The naked mole rat – An alternative model species for biomedical ageing research

Naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) are hardly mentioned in the list of the most beautiful animals. Nevertheless, they have an extraordinary reproductive system, are resistant to cancer and oxygen deprivation and (healthyly) grow astonishingly old, considering their small body size. What mechanisms underly these enviable skills?

Strengthening scientific approaches in wildlife welfare

With its expertise in animal welfare, the Leibniz-IZW contributes to an appropriate management of animals in human care and significantly improves science-based approaches and methods for it.

Translational research for developing assisted reproduction technologies for endangered mammals

The EUROVA consortium aims at developing new techniques and methods for in vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and in vitro culture (IVC) of embryos. These may be used to advance new conservation tools for highly endangered mammals, such as the endangered rhinoceros family.

Captive breeding in giant pandas – Bridging between innovative ART and reproductive biology

We aim to elucidate the secrets of giant panda reproductive biology - particularly the regulation of diapause - employing assisted reproduction techniques (ART) and subsequent in vitro modelling. The acquired knowledge will help to develop embryo transfer protocols in pseudo pregnant females.

Frozen Dumbo – Establishment of the first large scale semen cryobank for wild African elephants and other endangered species

This project advances techniques for artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation of both African and Asian elephants. With these methods at hand, population managers can enrich captive or isolated wild elephant populations without removing valuable individuals from their natural habitat.

Towards the next level of biobanking

While biodiversity is decreasing at an alarming rate, cryobanks contribute to preserving the ‘library of life‘. Our large-scale bio-cryobank, including not only tissues, but also gametes, fibroblasts, induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonal stem cells and embryos, is planned to be upgraded to an automated, fully digitized system.

Computed tomography in wildlife medicine and research for conservation

Computed tomography at the Leibniz-IZW - an unusual insight into wild animals and fossils: using state of the art imaging, from classic representation of morphology to the visualization of dynamic processes, we answer clinical as well as scientific questions regarding animal welfare, veterinary clinical diagnostics, and basic research.