2013 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 1-8
Conservation of avian genetic resources is important, as 13.0% (1,313/10,064) of known avian species are currently categorized as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN, 2012). Development of an integrated system for conservation of avian genetics is necessary; however, germplasm conservation systems developed for mammals cannot be applied directly to avians, primarily due to the unique anatomical and physiological characteristics of the avian egg. Thus an alternative strategy for conservation of oviparous species of animals must be developed. Recent technological developments for producing germline chimeras by the transfer of primordial germ cells into recipient embryos has enabled the conservation and retrieval of chicken genetic resources in their complete form. Furthermore, the possibility of propagating endangered wild birds through interspecies germline chimeras has been proposed. In the present review, the current status of avian genetic resource conservation is presented with a focus on the following 4 topics: 1) semen cryopreservation, 2) germline chimeras, 3) somatic nuclear transfer, and 4) other related technologies.