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Zoo Logic

Oct 8, 2020

The San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research maintains what is called the frozen zoo. For decades, carefully collected and prepared cell samples from over 1000 species, many of them listed as threatened or endangered and nearing extinction, have been stored almost indefinitely in ultra cold freezers.  Recently, the frozen zoo played an instrumental role in the successful cloning of an endangered Przewalski's Horse by providing the genetic material from a long deceased yet underrepresented stallion.

SDZG's Dr. Oliver Ryder has spent his career working to preserve the Przewalski's Horse and many other species through scientifically managed breeding programs and husbandry in human care. However, when the number of individuals in a rare population is very small the natural loss of genetic diversity can't be met or prevented by managed breeding methods alone. Thus, Dr. Oliver describes how  increasing the number of species and individuals from which cells are collected and stored would provide future generations with the option of whether and to what extent assisted reproductive techniques should be used to increase species biodiversity.

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