A Chat with the Program Director of SVF

As I was pondering how to write my recent post about food animal biobanking, my fantastic friends Araina and Kate urged me to call SVF Foundation1. And in 15 minutes I learned a lot.

The “SVF” in SVF Foundation stands for Swiss Village Farm, and the foundation is specifically rooted in farming. That root, it turns out, is the quick explanation for the difference in SVF’s biodiversity focus and a zoo’s biodiversity focus (and thus my feelings of disappointment I mention in the previous post, as I am rooted in the zoo side of things).

SVF Foundation was founded about 13 years ago as a non-profit tasked with conserving the biodiversity of agriculturally important ruminates–so, cows, sheep, and goats. They are almost exclusively privately funded, though they do have some fun merch for sale.Continue reading →

Looking Back for the Future

When I was in DC this past January, I began to wonder how far we have not come in 10 years.

I took this photo because it kind of bummed me out. I imagine most will actually find it exciting, and for good reason. The ability to revive extinct species or prevent extinctions in a variety of ways, including using biobanking, is pretty fantastic.

But 10 years ago, I was hip deep in research to make this even better. And while I knew what I was working on was not going to be the coming of a new age in cryogenic preservation, I also knew it would help.

See, a frozen embryo is fantastic for potentially raising up an individual at some point in the future, but you’re stuck with the genetics you have access to right then.… Continue reading →