Biobanking animal germplasm and tissues is a major component of conserving genetic resources. Effectively constructing such gene banks requires an understanding and evaluation of genetic resources, the ability to conserve various tissues through cryopreservation, and a robust information technology infrastructure to allow managers and potential users to fully understand and make use of the collection. Progress has been made internationally in developing national genetic resource collections. As these collections have been developed, it has become apparent that gene banks can serve a multitude of roles, thereby serving short- and long-term needs of research communities and industry. This article documents the development of gene banks and provides examples of how they have been used to date and the extent to which they have captured genetic diversity for future use.


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