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 (2019)
Species #Breeds #Donors #Doses Years of sampling
Cattle 22 6,3126 252,190 1966-2017
Chicken 31 270 18,780 1985-2009
Dog 7 19 612 1988-2012
Duck 3 67 1,591 2011-2013
Goat 6 83 6,627 2005-2015
Goose 1 11 102 2013-2014
Horse 10 208 3,875 1979-2017
Pig 33 767 21,895 1995-2017
Rabbit 8 62 1,957 2014-2015
Sheep 11 337 31,641 2001-2015

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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