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A dozen or so brightly colored sperm seen up close under a miscroscope
Information icon Shortnose sturgeon sper. Photo by USFWS.

Cryopreservation lab

Cryopreservation is a process in which a living cell is frozen, stored, thawed, and remains viable. Cryopreservation can allow the conservation of genetic diversity from declining populations, and can help protect against catastrophic losses of valuable populations. Cryopreserved sperm can also assist reproductive efforts by allowing spawning to take place whenever females are ready, reduces the need to hold males, and can increase flexibility and genetic diversity in spawning protocols.

We develop cryopreservation techniques for imperiled species to support fisheries operations throughout the Fish and Wildlife Service and those of our partners. We are also working on developing cryopreservation techniques for freshwater mussel and amphibian species.

Benefits of cryopreservation

  • preservation of genetic stocks;
  • increasing genetic diversity;
  • transfer of genes from wild populations to hatchery broodstock;
  • transfer of genetic material between wild populations.
  • spawning of asynchronous populations;
  • better control of selective breeding;
  • out-breeding of spawning populations from year to year;
  • transport of semen over long distances;
  • long-term storage for emergency situations (in the event of a catastrophic event).

Species the lab works with

  • White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)
  • Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)
  • Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)
  • Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)
  • Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus)
  • American shad (Alosa sapidissima)
  • Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula)
  • Bonytail chub (Gila elegans)
  • Striped bass (Morone saxilitis)
  • Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum)
  • Sicklefin redhorse (Moxostoma sp.)
  • Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)
  • Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae)
  • Apache trout (Oncorhynchus gilae apache)
  • Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
  • Kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
  • Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)
  • Brown trout (Salmo trutta)
  • Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
  • Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
  • Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
  • Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)
  • Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhyncus suttkusi)
  • Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)
  • Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum)
  • Freshwater mussels – various species


Dr. William R. Wayman, Tech Center Director, (706) 655-3382 ext 1229

Jaclyn Zelko, Lab Manager, (706) 655-3382 ext 1243

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