The FAUNABank Network will facilitate communication and promote frozen storage of animal genetic material amongst Australasian stakeholders across gene bank facilities in zoos, universities and museums, as well as advocate for appropriate policy development.
FAUNABank Research Projects will support research in the frozen genome storage. A critical missing element in wildlife conservation is the long-term security of diminishing genetic diversity in declining populations. Critical genes for survival are being lost from many species whose population numbers in the wild are now becoming too small to maintain genetic health and avoid inbreeding.
Given Australasia’s rapid extinction rate we are posed with the unique challenge of developing new technologies for wildlife conservation.
FAUNABank will utilise frozen sperm, eggs, embryos and other tissues, to create insurance populations for at risk fauna and in the hopes of future species reintroductions. Seed banks for threatened plants, medical bio-banks for disease and fertility, as well as agricultural livestock and crop seed banks are all well supported and accepted by the community and policy – but why not a bank for threatened animals?
FAUNA RA has established a network and steering committee of gene banking expertise and capacity across Australia and New Zealand. We need funding for a full-time coordinator so that this potential can be turned into National facilities with established best practice in gene storage technology, biosecurity, long-term management and curation.
An effective system of gene banks that holds the sperm, eggs, embryos and other tissues of wildlife will make genetic impoverishment of at-risk populations and extinction of species a thing of the past.