Germplasm Preservation of Animal Models for Biomedical Research

Animal models are essential to understanding human diseases and in maintaining human health through development of diagnostic approaches and therapeutic interventions. Large numbers of animal models of human disease are being generated at an unprecedented rate due to rapidly evolving technological advancements, such as gene editing techniques. However, this rapid increase in essential animal models is also creating challenges in how to maintain these critical resources in reliable and cost-effective ways, as long-term preservation of such animal models will be key in ensuring efficiency, reproducibility and transparency in biomedical research.

One solution to these challenges is to use germplasm preservation methods for long-term storage of valuable and evolving animal models. The Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) has supported research projects on developing efficient germplasm preservation methods, including cryopreservation methods, for diverse animal models, such as mouse, rat and fish. These projects are developing new methods or improving existing methods to preserve embryos, eggs or sperms for a variety of animal model species. Development of effective germplasm preservation technologies would serve the entire biomedical research community and further promote and conserve the value of animal models for human diseases.

Examples of current projects funded by the ORIP include:

Factors Affecting Ice Formation in Cells and Their Relevance to Cryopreservation
R01 OD011201
Daniel Roberts
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Simple and Cost-effective Storage of Mouse Sperm using Evaporative Drying
R24 OD016985
Mehmet Toner
Massachusetts General Hospital

Development of Germplasm Resources for Preservation of Aquatic Models
R24 OD010441
Terrence Tiersch
Louisiana State University