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Cryo-Preservation Could Save Fish Species

Breeding & genetics

NORWAY - a significant breakthrough has been made by Norwegian scientists at Cryogenetics Ltd., by inventing a method for cryo-preservation of fish embryos down to -130 C (-202 F) . This is a major achievement as the worlds scientific community has pursued a method for cryo-preservation of fish embryos over several decades without success.

The Cryogenetics Ltd. scientific team, lead by Dr. Elisabeth Kommisrud has over the past two years systematically approached the task of establishing protocols for cryo-preservation of fish embryos. A Atlantic cod embryo was cryo-preserved, thawed and developed normally before hatching. The fish was named 'Coddy'.

Trials were repeated, optimised and patent applications were filed to protect the invention.

Due to factors such as global warming, pollution and over-fishing, several of the world’s fish stocks are facing low numbers and could soon to be extinct. Cryogentic’s Ltd.’s new technology may be adapted to suit cryopreservation of embryos from several fish species and thereby save a stock for future use. A frozen embryo can at a desired point of time be thawed and continue its natural development. Due to the large egg production in most fish species, a significant number of offspring can be produced at spawning. For example, an Atlantic Salmon will typically produce between 8.000 and 12.000 eggs per female salmon.

The new technology from Cryogenetics Ltd. also gives rise to the possibility of limiting the spread of diseases in fish farming, since selected genetic material can be transferred between regions with different health status in a more controlled and safe way than today.

Cryogenetics Ltd. is anticipating this invention for cryopreserving fish embryos to have a wide area of application for companies and research institutions working with fish. Breeding companies, R&D companies, vaccine producers and public conservation programs can dramatically reduce costs and increase opportunities through this method.

Cryogenetics Ltd. will seek partnership with strong R&D groups to develop and adapt the technology for major fish species.

The company is actively supported by Innovation Norway.