The Increasing Role of Short-Term Sperm Storage and Cryopreservation in Conserving Threatened Amphibian Species
Multidisciplinary approaches to conserve threatened species are required to curb biodiversity loss. Globally, amphibians are facing the most severe declines of any vertebrate class. In response, conservation breeding programs have been established in a growing number of amphibian species as a safeguard against further extinction. One of the main challenges to the long-term success of conservation breeding programs is the maintenance of genetic diversity, which, if lost, poses threats to the viability and adaptive potential of at-risk populations. Integrating reproductive technologies into conservation breeding programs can greatly assist genetic management and facilitate genetic exchange between captive and wild populations, as well as reinvigorate genetic diversity from expired genotypes. The generation of offspring produced via assisted fertilisation using frozen–thawed sperm has been achieved in a small but growing number of amphibian species and is poised to be a valuable tool for the genetic management of many more threatened species globally. This review discusses the role of sperm storage in amphibian conservation, presents the state of current technologies for the short-term cold storage and cryopreservation of amphibian sperm, and discusses the generation of cryo-derived offspring.
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Australian Research Council