According to its tradition the primary task of the Research Centre for Farm Animal Gene Conservation in Gödöllő is the in vivo maintenance of Hungarian indigenous poultry breeds in nucleus populations. Since 2010 this activity has been completed with the in vivo conservation of indigenous mammalian species as well.
Indispensable part of the safe maintenance of the valuable genetic material is the long term storage of the genetic information to be found in the spermatozoa, oocytes or embryonic cells. In 2012 by means of financial support of the EU and the institution the Laboratory of avian reproduction and in vitro gene conservation was completely renovated. At the northern part of the building a “cold room” was created according to the professional rules, where the deep freezing processes and the storage of the samples are carried out. The laboratory possesses two sets of deep freezers (a PLANER Kryo10, UK; and a MINI DIGITCOOL, IMV, FR), as well as liquid nitrogen containers supporting these devices and a storage unit equipped with automatic filling system (CBS, USA) suitable for long term keeping of around 4600 samples. Instruments and devices for the preparation works of freezing of gonadal and embryonic cells and the professional skills and experience of the research staff are available as well in the laboratory.
The establishment of the Hungarian national poultry cryo bank in Gödöllő has started with the storage of spermatozoa of Hungarian indigenous poultry breeds (300 sperm samples/species or varieties). We are planning the long term storage of early embryonic cells and gonads of these breeds as well. In the future we propose to expand this activity and the storage capacity for the maintenance of the genetic material (sperm, DNA) of some rare and valuable lines of Hungarian commercial hybrids too.
Starting with the end of the 90-ies, intensified activities can be observed in the field of in vitro conservation of animal resources in Europe. In 2003 the first workshop in Paris was organized and supported by the European Regional Focal Point (ERFP) for Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR). This FAO organization was established in 2000 with the aim to encourage the European states to cooperate more effectively in this field and support all national programs regarding the maintenance and conservation of their own indigenous farm animals.
We agree with these ideas and think that the creation of a registered national in vitro gene bank for conservation of indigenous farm animals is required also in Hungary. We are pioneers with the recently developed Hungarian poultry cryo bank operated with the financial support of research projects and a common EU and governmental provision (ÚMVP 214.C), however the long term maintenance and operation require national coordination, further public engagements and/or governmental concern.
January 2015 Gödöllő
Judit Barna DVM, PhD