The development in cryobiology in animal breeding had revolutionized the field of reproductive medicine. The main objective to preserve animal germplasm stems from variety of reasons such as conservation of endangered animal species, animal diversity, and an increased demand of animal models and/or genetically modified animals for research involving animal and human diseases. Cryopreservation has emerged as promising technique for fertility preservation and assisted reproduction techniques (ART) for production of animal breeds and genetically engineered animal species for research. Slow rate freezing and rapid freezing/vitrification are the two main methods of cryopreservation. Slow freezing is characterized by the phase transition (liquid turning into solid) when reducing the temperature below freezing point. Vitrification, on the other hand, is a phenomenon in which liquid solidifies without the formation of ice crystals, thus the process is referred to as a glass transition or ice-free cryopreservation. The vitrification protocol applies high concentrations of cryoprotective agents (CPA) used to avoid cryoinjury. This chapter provides a brief overview of fundamentals of cryopreservation and established methods adopted in cryopreservation. Strategies involved in cryopreserving germ cells (sperm and egg freezing) are included in this chapter. Last section describes the frontiers and advancement of cryopreservation in some of the important animal models like rodents (mouse and rats) and in few large animals (sheep, cow etc).
Part of the book: Animal Reproduction