What is Cryo-Brehm about?
The CRYO-Brehm is a scientific collection, which preserves biological information about the animal kingdom trough the conservation of cell lines.

Who provides Cryo-Brehm?
The CRYO-Brehm is a public archive. It has been initiated by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. with its Institution for Marine Biotechnology (EMB), the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomecical Engeneering (IBMT), the Zoo Rostock and the "Tierpark Hagenbeck" zoo of the city of Hamburg. They decided November 2, 2007 the establishment of the biobank and recorded in the cooperation agreement:

“All partners agree that the preservation of living individuals connected with the variety of life takes top priority for us and the following generations. Therefore they will set up a cryobank where living conserved stem/progenitor cells of various wild and zoo animals can be stored medium- and long-dated. These cells contain the complete genome of the species [and individuals]. That is why they are an important source of cells that can support the preservation of faunal biodiversity of the earth. For this reason all research institutions, which want to do research for this purpose, should get access to this stem cell bank.”

The Fraunhofer EMB in Luebeck coordinates the CRYO-BREHM project headed by Professor Charli Kruse. THE EMB has developed methods in the last years to isolate cells with stem cell characteristics from each vertebrate and to convert them into stably proliferating in vitro cell cultures. In the last 10 years the IMBT established a unique low-temperature technology platform for biobanks. It operates biobanks for medicine, the environmental specimen bank for human samples ( www.umweltprobenbank.de), a permanent project of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and the global HIV repository for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What does the name CRYO-BREHM stand for?
In 1863 the zoologist Alfred Brehm (1829-1884) published the well-known encyclopedia “Brehms Tierleben”, in which he registered a variety of information about the species. The CRYO-BREHM with its documentation of biological information is the continuation of this work based on the latest technologies. The word “cryo” (ancient Greek [kryos] “ice, coldness”] indicates that the samples are preserved in a deep-frozen state in the CRYO-BREHM.

Why are cell cultures collected in the CRYO-BREHM project?
Through modern biological methods it is possible to isolate the basic modules of tissues and organs, the cells, from certain tissues and to keep them alive in special culture dishes (“petri dish”). These are called “cell cultures”. A cell culture typically consists of several hundred thousand to several million cells.
Cells are information carriers: Each species has unique characteristics that reflect the evolutionary adaptation to their living conditions. This includes for example, resistances against pathogens, the defense of predators through highly effective toxins and the ability to survive dry periods in a state of apparent death. Each cell is an information carrier of these features. However, it contains not only the genetic information, but also a viable metabolism. The result is variety of scientific applications.

Collected CRYO-BREHM cells have two basic qualities that expand additionally the scientific spectrum of applications:
• They can frequently multiply over a long period when cultured. Therefore, few cells are enough to produce large quantities of cells by multiplication.
• They can differentiate into many various cell types.

The cell cultures can be used long-dated and sustainably: Due to the proliferation of the cells, their number can increase exponentially. By storage in liquid nitrogenat temperatures below 135°C, cellular life processes can be stopped – but the cells are not dead (=cryopreservation). In this way the storage is possible over many centuries with high probability. As a result, living biological material is available for research in the long term.

What are the scientific benefits of CRYO-BREHM?
The utilization of cellular information and mechanisms may be important for the analysis of fundamental biological and medical questions. CRYO-BREHM provides living cell material for example to analyze specific influenza viruses, to research the impacts of environmental toxins, and to understand how certain species can regenerate complex tissues and organs. It must be assumed that frozen cells will open important and previously unknown possibilities for future generations of scientists.

Where do the collected cells of CRYO-BREHM come from?
The cells are isolated from the tissues of recently died animals or from placenta tissues at birth.
That is why no animal has to suffer or even die for the purposes of conservation of its cells in the CRYO-BREHM.
In particular, no embryos are used.

CRYO-BREHM and the “Frozen Ark”
CRYO-BREHM is a member of the Frozen Ark. The Frozen Ark is an international consortium of biological collections of wildlife. The common aim is to secure a variety of scientific samples of wild animals before they become extinct.

CRYO-BREHM and the Washington Convention (CITES)
The transfer of protected species or of scientific samples of these species is regulated by the CITES regulations. These are always observed in the work of CRYO-BREHM.

The project is sponsored by the Possehl Foundation, the federal state Schleswig-Holstein and the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE). There are many ways to support the CRYO-BREHM project. We will be pleased to inform you personally.