The Frozen Ark
The IUCN maintains a ‘red list’ of the state of the world’s taxa, and monitors its endangerment where possible. Efforts to secure the survival of endangered wildlife include the storage, in frozen conditions, of its DNA. Possible future uses of these materials include employment in revivifying species, stem cell technologies, conservation programmes, sequencing and the scientific understanding of the DNA itself. The Frozen Ark Project, based at the University of Nottingham, stores hundreds of samples from tens of species. It works to develop storage methods and technologies, as well as safeguarding samples. It is also working to build an integrated database of samples held by associated organisations. The Frozen Ark also supports partner organisations in their own collection work. Our work with the Frozen Ark aims to understand how cryotech selection, preservation, storage and archiving is determined and enacted, and the practices and global networks which facilitate these conservation practices.