Spanish scientist freeze sperm of dead animals to preserve biodiversity

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SPANISH scientists are testing the possibilities of freezing the sperm from dead animals to preserve biodiversity.

Researchers from the Department of Animal Reproduction of the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) have verified the viability of cryopreservation of sperm collected up to two days after the death of an animal.

They manage to obtain sperm cells with genetic material suitable for freezing, which has proved to be of great value for the preservation of biodiversity.

They have also highlighted the importance of these techniques to improve management of these species, such as the Andalucia roe deer, which are a key element in Spanish biodiversity and an important hunting resource.

The study, led by Julian Santiago Moreno, analysed cryopreserved sperm obtained from 106 roe deer killed in hunts in Asturias and Castilla-La Mancha.

The roe deer has a unique reproductive physiology, since they have only one heat per year in the summer. Testicular activity occurs in males from the end of June to the beginning of August, and the study showed that there is a total absence of activity outside that period. The activity began to reactivate between April and May in 75 per cent of the animals.

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Written by

Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.


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