Animal genebank collections

CGN is collecting genetic material and maintains gene bank collections of cattle, pigs, horses, sheep, goat, poultry and dogs. Both rare breeds and widely used, commercial breeds are represented in the gene bank.

General objective of CGN is to conserve all rare domestic animal breeds in the gene bank and to stimulate animal breeders to back-up their commercial varieties in the genebank.

search the database

There is a number of reasons to conserve genetic material (ex situ) in a genebank. Gene bank material can be used:

  • In breeding programs in case genetic problems (drift, inbreeding, genetic defects) occur in live populations
  • To reconstruct a breed in case of extinction or loss of a substantial number of animals
  • To create new lines or breeds or to quickly modify or reorient selection of a breed
  • For research purposes to gain insight on genetic diversity of populations
Number of breeds/lines in the genebank (2014)
Species Breeds/lines Nr. of Animals Nr. of doses Increase since 2010
Cattle 20 5775 232.593 20%
Pigs 33 638 17.283 22%
Chicken 29 270 18.828 0%
Sheep 9 291 30.050 36%
Goat 5 70 6.364 60%
Horse 7 130 2.477 34%
Duck 3 67 1.588 new
Goose 1 11 102 new
Dog 5 15 410 68%
Rabbit 8 55 1.897 new

Storage locations

The Genebank collections are stored at two locations. Main storage is located at one of the locations of the Wageningen UR Livestock Research of Wageningen University and Research Centre in Lelystad. A duplicate storage site is located at the Veterinary Faculty of Utrecht University.

Collection and freezing of semen

Semen for the genebank can be collected in several ways:

  • collect and freeze semen specifically for the Genebank.
  • semen collection from the epididymis after castration or after slaughtering.
  • storing a "snapshot" (limited number of doses) from commercial available frozen doses.

    Search for genebank material

    In the genebank database it is possible to search by species or breed yourself.For a large part of the genebank collection an embargo period is applied before usage is permitted. Check the quality manual for the emitting criteria of the genebank collection.

    Conservation planner

    The Conservation Planner (gBankPlan), developed by CGN and the Dutch Rare Breeds Foundation (SZH), is a Microsoft Office Excel application to determine the amount of genetic material (sperm and/or embryos) necessary for conservation or recovery of a population.

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