Sep 012013


Using a freeze-drying technique, Japanese scientists have created a living database to bring extinct species back to life.

In Japan, a team of scientists from Kyoto University’s The Institute of Laboratory Animals, Graduate School of Medicine have created a sperm bank for endangered species using an innovative freeze-drying technique. To date, in collaboration with the city’s zoo they have managed to freeze-dry the sperm of chimpanzees, Sunda slow loris, and giraffes. The scientists were then capable of bringing the sperm back to life by thawing it gently in water.

Takehito Kaneko, a professor at the University has spent a decade perfecting the process of infusing a buffer solution in the freeze-drying procedure to preserve the sperm at the same time as protecting the genetic information within the sample. When combining the sperm with the special preserving liquid before freeze-drying it, the substance can be stored at a relatively high temperature – outweighing the benefits of  liquid nitrogen as it does not require large amounts of bulky equipment and samples can be stored in a regular refrigerator.

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