Frozen animals for biodiversity

In England you will find Nature’s Safe: a refrigerator with temperatures below 196 degrees where pieces of tissue from 100 different animal species are actually stored.

Like plant seed biobanks, this living tissue biobank should contribute to the protection of the Earth’s biodiversity. The idea is that species that disappear in the future can return thanks to these specimens.

Since it is not easy to collect a piece of tissue from every dead animal in the wild in time, we work primarily with European zoos. If an animal dies there, a sample is saved and sent to a biobank.

Whether it will eventually be possible to bring back all the collected animals if they become extinct remains a question, of course. In addition, scientists warn that such a biobank does not mean that we do not have to do anything now.

It still prevented us from needing better samples. And things are not going well at the moment when it comes to protecting animal species. So we have to get down to business, though, as this freezer is filled with pieces of last hope.

Read more: Extinction: Why scientists are freezing threatened species in ‘biobanks’

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Megan Vasquez

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