On the Horizon for Fertility Preservation in Domestic and Wild Carnivores

Authors

  • P Comizzoli,

    Corresponding author
    1. Front Royal, VA, USA
    • Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • DE Wildt

    1. Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC, USA
    2. Front Royal, VA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Author's address (for correspondence): P Comizzoli, Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20008, USA. E-mail: comizzolip@si.edu

Contents

Innovations are emerging from the growing field of fertility preservation for humans and laboratory animals that are relevant to protecting and propagating valuable domestic and wild carnivores. These extend beyond the ‘classical’ approaches associated with sperm, oocyte and embryo freezing to include gonadal tissue preservation combined with in vitro culture or xenografting, all of which have potential for rescuing vast amounts of unused and wasted germplasm. Here, we review approaches under development and predicted to have applied value within the next decade, including the following: (i) direct use of early-stage gametes for in vitro fertilization; (ii) generation of more mature gametes from gonadal tissue or stem cells; (iii) simplification, enhanced safety and efficacy of cryopreservation methods; and (iv) biostabilization of living cells and tissues at ambient temperatures. We believe that all of these fertility preservation strategies will offer knowledge and tools to better manage carnivores that serve as human companions, valuable biomedical models or require assistance to reverse endangerment.

Ancillary