Amphibian assisted reproductive technologies: moving from technology to application

J. Clulow, R. Upton, V. L. Trudeau, S. Clulow

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Amphibians have experienced a catastrophic decline since the 1980s driven by disease, habitat loss, and impacts of invasive species and face ongoing threats from climate change. About 40% of extant amphibians are under threat of extinction and about 200 species have disappeared completely. Reproductive technologies and biobanking of cryopreserved materials offer technologies that could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation programs involving management of captive breeding and wild populations through reduced costs, better genetic management and reduced risk of species extinctions. However, there are relatively few examples of applications of these technologies in practice in on-the-ground conservation programs, and no example that we know of where genetic diversity has been restored to a threatened amphibian species in captive breeding or in wild populations using cryopreserved genetic material. This gap in the application of technology to conservation programs needs to be addressed if assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and biobanking are to realise their potential in amphibian conservation. We review successful technologies including non-invasive gamete collection, IVF and sperm cryopreservation that work well enough to be applied to many current conservation programs. We consider new advances in technology (vitrification and laser warming) of cryopreservation of aquatic embryos of fish and some marine invertebrates that may help us to overcome factors limiting amphibian oocyte and embryo cryopreservation. Finally, we address two case studies that illustrate the urgent need and the opportunity to implement immediately ARTs, cryopreservation and biobanking to amphibian conservation. These are (1) managing the biosecurity (disease risk) of the frogs of New Guinea which are currently free of chytridiomycosis, but are at high risk (2) the Sehuencas water frog of Bolivia, which until recently had only one known surviving male.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
EditorsPierre Comizzoli, Janine L. Brown, William V. Holt
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages51
ISBN (Electronic)9783030236335
ISBN (Print)9783030236328
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


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