Research Center of Genetic Resources, NARO

Animal Section

Animal genetic resources

The Animal Section is responsible for the conservation of livestock, poultry, and insect genetic resources, collection of relevant data such as geographical distribution, maintenance of mutants or lines with useful physiological traits, and implementation of efficient long-term preservation systems to maintain genetic diversity. The animal genetic resources are available for research purposes and have been utilized for genetic analyses, studies on diversity, physiology, ecology, and the development of novel foods and other products.

Methods for conservation of animal genetic resources

Animal genetic resources indispensable in agriculture and bioindustries are conserved in collaboration with the sub-banks to facilitate efficient preservation and maintenance appropriate for each animal species. The conservation methods include cryopreservation of embryos and semen in liquid nitrogen, and rearing of live animals.

Conservation of livestock and poultry resources

Livestock and poultry genetic resources are preserved as embryos, semen and somatic cells kept in liquid nitrogen or maintained by rearing live populations of animals. In the case of chicken, primordial germ cells (PGCs) which will differentiate into ova or spermatozoa are also used because long term conservation of chicken eggs is difficult.

Animal NameForm of conservation
CattleSemen, embryos, somatic cells
HorseSemen, live animals
GoatSemen, live animals
PigSemen, embryos
SheepSemen, somatic cells
ChickenSemen, live animals, PGCs
QuailLive animals

Conservation methods for silkworm

For conservation of silkworm strains, it is necessary to rear each strain at least once every year. The cycle for preservation involves hatching of eggs, feeding of larvae, cocooning, mating of moths, and collection of fertilized eggs from spring to autumn when mulberry leaves are available.