Mouse Study Trumpets New Way To Preserve Species


Critser's group at Purdue is now using rat ovarian tissue in an effort to preserve transgenic rat lines and to further develop methods of transplanting frozen tissue into mice. The group will then analyze the ovaries' ability to establish cycles and produce eggs.

The rat studies also may help the researchers develop optimal culture conditions for in vitro maturation and fertilization, and they may improve techniques for transferring embryos into live animals. These procedures then might be applied to rare or endangered species, Critser says.

He and his group also are looking at ways in which cryopreserved ovarian tissue from humans can be used to circumvent fertility problems caused by certain illnesses or medical conditions.

"Based on the earlier studies that showed ovarian tissue could be used to produce offspring in animals, some clinics have begun using cryopreservation methods to store human ovarian tissue, usually when a young woman is about to undergo radiation or chemotherapy for cancer," he says.

Critser and a group at Methodist Hospital have collected samples from a human patient and are applying for funding to expand their study.

Critser is a reproductive physiologist who serves as adjunct associate professor in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. He is using cryobiology -- the study of low-temperature effects on biological systems -- to develop and improve ways of preserving reproductive cells and tissues, such as sperm, eggs, embryos and ovarian tissue.

Cryobiology routinely is used to preserve tissues such as blood and skin. Human sperm banks also use this method to distribute more than 100,000 units of preserved semen every year.

Since 1989, Critser has studied ways to apply cryobiology to preserve genetic materials of endangered species. He has worked with a number of zoos -- including Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Wa

Contact: Susan Gaidos
Purdue University

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