New wildlife BioBank open in Australia


It's like a seed bank, but for animals.


Wildlife tissue samples will be stored at -185 °C.
Ben Healey / Museum Victoria

The Ian Potter Australian Wildlife BioBank in Melbourne, Australia is officially open.

The state-of-the-art facility will serve as a sort of seed bank for fauna, particularly threatened and endangered species, by storing animal tissue samples from Australia and around the world.

The BioBank is considered vital to the conservation of Australian wildlife and will be housed in the basement of the Melbourne Museum.

It will hold Museum Victoria’s current collection of 44,000 samples but will also be available to organisations such as Zoos Victoria that wish to store reproductive materials such as eggs, sperm and embryos from endangered species.

The BioBank will use cryotanks cooled with liquid nitrogen to store the tissues.

While most animal tissue collections are stored in freezers at -80 °C, the new BioBank’s cryotanks will store them at -185 °C – preserving them better, longer.

The BioBank can currently accommodate 160,000 samples, but space has been provided for additional cryotanks.

If installed, these would lift the capacity of the storage centre to 400,000 samples.

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