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Biologists freeze animal cells for preservation – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2022-06-14 16:20:37 –

At first glance, it’s hard to say that it’s a zoo. However, these tanks lined up at this research facility protect animal cells – some are endangered.

“Frozen zoos are the oldest collection of living cells, both skin and germ cells.”

Marie’s Hook, a curator at the Frozen Zoo, said. “These cell lines can be used to rescue genes and regain endangered species.”

More than 10,000 individuals representing 1,200 species are packed here and frozen in liquid nitrogen.

“There are many species we are worried about. The Sumatran rhino is declining and the Kogashira rat is the smallest porpoise in the world,” she explained.

The process of freezing a cell line collection begins, for example, with a skin biopsy or feather growth from a bird. These scientists grow and proliferate cells and then add them to the frozen zoo.

“We are rapidly losing these species, and each species is in some ways interrelated, and sometimes we don’t even know the know-how,” says Houck.

A study published in Nature this year found that one in five reptiles is endangered, which is just one example.

“Dramatic concerns. In just the last decade, biodiversity has collapsed at the world level,” said Jeffrey Morse, an associate professor of biology at the University of San Diego. He has been focusing on biodiversity, especially insects, for 30 years.

He explained how loss of biodiversity can have an impact.

“The direct impact of this will be nature’s services, so pollination is something I always return to,” he said. “As bees decline, we lose their ecosystem services.”

“As we eliminate biodiversity, we eliminate the opportunity to discover effective new drugs that may be present in plants and animals,” Morse said.

He said there was more than one reason we could point our finger. “It’s a change in land use, overfishing, pollution,” he said. “You can keep moving the list down.

Scientists say we are at the sixth mass extinction event. This means that the flora and fauna found on Earth has been lost. Conservation activities, including frozen zoos, are becoming more important as more endangered flora and fauna increase, Morse said.

“It recovers with a bandage, just like it died in julienne. And it’s just one of the bandages. The other reduces carbon input into the atmosphere and the other uses plastic. We are reducing it, “he explained.

Houck and her team work daily to grow and preserve cell lines of different species.

“We try to identify what’s likely to decline next, but in general we just want to deposit everything in the bank because we don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Houck said. ..

They are also working to share knowledge with other scientists.

“We are trying to train other groups around the world to use our method,” she said. “We feel that we are putting as much pressure on banks as possible on the seeds.”

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