What Are Gene Banks?

Hundreds of plant and animal species on the planet are in danger of being extinct now; human exploitation and pollution have had their toll on them. The genes of these plants and animals can be collected and kept in gene banks, to be able to later recreate them through cloning, when science allows it.

Gene banks exist for years now, located in different parts of the world; their importance is now acknowledged and countries make use of them, as gene banks, besides preserving the DNA, also offer scientists means of performing studies on plant and animal life.

Genetic samples are collected and then stored away in gene banks; it is the specialists job to do that. The genes of a living organism means the DNA that exists in each cell; by collecting and freezing the DNA, the blueprints are saved for the time to come. We can store the seeds of plants from food crops, or from rare species, in order to protect the biodiversity, and also to use them for other purposes, in agriculture, medicine, genetic engineering, etc.

There are different ways of collecting the genetic material. For example, for collecting genetic material from plants, the seeds will be collected, or parts of the plants will be cut and frozen; when collecting genetics from animals, sperm and eggs will be needed to be stored in zoological freezers.

There are several operations involved in a gene bank; the genetic resources need to be taken and preserved for a long time. The collected material is a repository that needs to be monitored. The existing sample collections need to be kept under the correct conditions, according to standards; they also need to be periodically evaluated, to make sure they are in good conditions. The information on the genetic collections is recorded in databases, using dedicated information systems. Gene banks need to carefully document the sample collections; the same dedicated information systems store the necessary data. There are special bio-banking applications used by specialized companies that involve sample storage and retrieval.

The continued monitoring activity is important; they need to be periodically regenerated, with new seeds harvested, or else they will not resist in time.

A conclusion can be drawn as regards the gene banks; their importance will grow in the future, as the species become more and more extinct on Earth, due to human intervention.

Learn about the importance of biobanking with the help of specialists.

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