Genome resource bank

The genome resource bank is a collection of over 3500 samples from over 500 wildlife species. Since 1998 it is being systematically expanded. The collection includes blood, gametes, embryos, testicular and ovarian tissues, and other body tissues from various wildlife species. Since the inception of the Felid Gamete Rescue Project in 2007 at the IZW, a collection of about 80 cryopreserved samples of spermatozoa, oocytes, embryos and testicular and ovarian tissues from 20 felid species have been compiled. The further development of cryo-conservation techniques and sample preservation using directional freezing or freeze-drying will be expanded in close cooperation with the international Frozen Ark consortium (, which coordinates worldwide efforts to collect and safeguard valuable genetic and genomic samples of wildlife. The collection is used as a reference in a number of different projects as well as to develop, improve and establish in vitro assisted reproductive techniques and to support breeding programmes in zoos. Within the framework of agreed cooperation, it may also be accessible to external researchers.

Selected publications

Galateanu G, Aizenberg I, Hildebrandt TB, Apelt D (2011) Computed tomographic demonstration of central tarsal bone plantar process occult fracture. Vet Record 169: 442.

Hutchinson JR, Delmer C, Miller CE, Hildebrandt TB, Pitsillides AA, Boyde A (2011) From flat foot to fat foot: Structure, ontogeny, function, and evolution of elephant "sixth toes". Science 334: 1699-1703.

Ringleb J, Waurich R, Wibbelt G, Streich WJ, Jewgenow K (2011) Prolonged storage of epididymal spermatozoa does not affect their capacity to fertilise in vitro-matured domestic cat (Felis catus) oocytes when using ICSI. Reprod Fertil Dev 23: 818-825.

Saragusty J, Walzer C, Petit T, Stalder G, Horowitz I, Hermes R (2010) Cooling and freezing of epididymal sperm in the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius). Theriogenology 74: 1256-1263.

Hermes R, Göritz F, Saragusty J, Sos E, Molnar V, Reid CE, Schwarzenberger F, Hildebrandt TB (2009) First successful artificial insemination with frozen-thawed semen in rhinoceros. Theriogenology 71: 393-399.

Hildebrandt TB, Roellig K, Goeritz F, Fassbender M, Krieg R, Blottner S, Behr B, Hermes R (2009) Artificial insemination of captive European brown hares (Lepus europaeus PALLAS, 1778) with fresh and cryopreserved semen derived from free-ranging males. Theriogenology 72: 1065-1072.

Saragusty J, Hildebrandt TB, Behr B, Knieriem A, Kruse J, Hermes R (2009) Successful cryopreservation of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa. Anim Reprod Sci 115: 255-266.