Reptile and amphibian conservation through gene banking and other reproduction technologies

R. K. Browne, H. Li, H. Robertson, V. K. Uteshev, N. R. Shishova, D. McGinnity, S. Nofs, C. R. Figiel, N. Mansour, R. E. Lloyd, D. Agnew, C. L. Carleton, M. Wu, E. N. Gakhova


More than 300 of the ~6180 known reptile species are critically endangered or endangered, with more than 200 known amphibian species extinct, and ~1230 of the ~6800 known amphibian species are critically endangered or endangered. To assure the survival of these species conservation breeding programs (CBPs) are being established. The perpetuation of genetic variation is required in both CBPs and in natural populations, to maintain health and reproduction, and to enable adaptation to environmental change. However, over time genetic variation is often lost in CBPs and in small or fragmented natural populations. Reproduction technologies including gene banking through the use of sperm cryopreservation can perpetuate genetic variation. These technologies are being applied to amphibian conservation, however, their development and use for reptiles has received only sporadic attention. We review the use of reproduction technologies for the conservation of amphibians and reptiles including the hormonal induction of sperm and oocytes, their use in artificial fertilisation, and the potentials of sperm cryopreservation for gene banking. Support for the use of reproduction technologies, and the perpetuation of genetic variation of threatened amphibians and reptiles, will benefit from practical examples of the recovery of genetic variation from stored sperm, and its use to provide competent individuals for rehabitation programs and to supplement populations.


amphibian; reptile; sperm cryopreservation; reproduction technologies; genetic variation; conservation

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