Genetic material from eight rare Dutch rabbits breeds has been selected for storage in the Dutch gene bank. The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) has collected this semen in collaboration with the Dutch Federation of Rabbits and Poultry (KLN) and the Dutch Rare Breed Survival Trust (SZH) last month.
The breeders have chosen representive males from their populations to make a "back-up" as the breed is now. Conservation of genetic diversity is an insurance for the future. A broad genetic base is crucial to deal with the future and these breeds of Dutch origin are a valuable part of our cultural heritage. In the future semen might be used in case of genetic problems in live populations (genetic drift, inbreeding) or in case of loss of a substantial number of animals or for research purposes to gain insight on genetic diversity of populations.