• Integrating current methods for the preservation of amphibian genetic resources and viable tissues to achieve best practices for species conservation

      Zimkus, Breda M; Hassapakis, Craig L; Houck, Marlys L. (2018)
      Global amphibian declines associated with anthropogenic causes, climate change, and amphibianspecific infectious diseases (e.g., chytridiomycosis) have highlighted the importance of biobanking amphibian genetic material. Genetic resource collections were the first to centralize the long-term storage of samples for use in basic science, including disciplines such as molecular evolution, molecular genetics, phylogenetics, and systematics. Biobanks associated with conservation breeding programs put a special emphasis on the cryopreservation of viable cells. These cell lines have a broader application, including the potential for genetic rescue and use in species propagation for population enhancement, such as captive breeding and reintroduction programs. We provide an overview of the most commonly used methods for the preservation of genetic resources, identify ways to standardize collection processes across biobanks, and provide decision trees to assist researchers in maximizing the potential use of their samples for both scientific research and the practice of species conservation. We hope that the collection and deposition of tissues preserved using methods that enable eventual cell line establishment will become routine practice among researchers, particularly herpetologists working in the field. While many major museums do not yet cryopreserve reproductive cells or cell lines, they contain the infrastructure and staff to maintain these collections if protocols and procedures are adapted. Collaboration between organizations can play an important future role in the conservation of amphibians, especially biobanks associated with research institutions and those pioneering techniques used in breeding programs.