Quality Management Practices of Gene Banks for Livestock: A Global Review

F. Zomerdijk, S.J. Hiemstra, Maëlle d'Arbaumont, Michele Tixier-Boichard, Paul Boettcher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic diversity of livestock is decreasing and many countries have created gene banks for ex situ–in vitro conservation of animal genetic resources (AnGR). The collection, processing, and storage of animal germplasm require substantial investment and the material collected (and associated data) is highly valuable. Therefore, quality management systems (QMSs) and practices are important. The objective of this study was to review the quality management procedures of livestock gene banks around the world to identify the general strengths and weaknesses of quality control. A survey was administered by means of an online questionnaire consisting of 54 questions, most of which were yes/no with respect to the presence of a particular aspect of quality management. The survey was distributed through networks of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that are associated with AnGR. Ninety responses were received from 62 countries. The gene banks were predominantly public institutions, with the main goal of preventing breed extinction. Approximately 30% of the banks reported having a QMS, 15 of which involved formal certification. Many other banks have plans to implement formal quality management within the next 5 years. Regarding specific aspects of quality management, more emphasis was placed on material entering the banks than on eventual utilization. Among the banks processing and freezing material, 90% followed specific standard operating procedures, but only 24% had policies regarding provision of access to external stakeholders. Increased cooperation among livestock gene banks could improve quality management. Sharing of knowledge could standardize procedures and cooperating peers could evaluate each other's QMSs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-253
JournalBiopreservation and Biobanking
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

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