Author(s): Kouba AJ, Vance CK
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Abstract As amphibian populations continue to decline, both government and non-government organisations are establishing captive assurance colonies to secure populations deemed at risk of extinction if left in the wild. For the most part, little is known about the nutritional ecology, reproductive biology or husbandry needs of the animals placed into captive breeding programs. Because of this lack of knowledge, conservation biologists are currently facing the difficult task of maintaining and reproducing these species. Academic and zoo scientists are beginning to examine different technologies for maintaining the genetic diversity of founder populations brought out of the wild before the animals become extinct from rapidly spreading epizootic diseases. One such technology is genetic resource banking and applied reproductive technologies for species that are difficult to reproduce reliably in captivity. Significant advances have been made in the last decade for amphibian assisted reproduction including the use of exogenous hormones for induction of spermiation and ovulation, in vitro fertilisation, short-term cold storage of gametes and long-term cryopreservation of spermatozoa. These scientific breakthroughs for a select few species will no doubt serve as models for future assisted breeding protocols and the increasing number of amphibians requiring conservation intervention. However, the development of specialised assisted breeding protocols that can be applied to many different families of amphibians will likely require species-specific modifications considering their wide range of reproductive modes. The purpose of this review is to summarise the current state of knowledge in the area of assisted reproduction technologies and gene banking for the conservation of amphibians.
This article was published in Reprod Fertil Dev
and referenced in Poultry, Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences