Amphibians are becoming increasingly reliant on captive breeding programs for continued survival. Assisted reproductive technologies including gamete cryopreservation and IVF can help reduce costs of breeding programs, provide insurance against extinction and assist genetic rescue in wild populations. However, the use of these technologies to produce reproductively mature offspring has only been demonstrated in a few non-model species. We aimed to optimise sperm cryopreservation in the threatened frog Litoria aurea and generate mature offspring from frozen-thawed spermatozoa by IVF. We tested three concentrations (1.4, 2.1 and 2.8 M) of the cryoprotectants dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and glycerol with 0.3 M sucrose. Using DMSO was more likely to result in recovery of sperm motility, vitality and acrosome integrity than glycerol, regardless of concentration, with forward progressive motility being most sensitive to damage. The lowest concentrations of 1.4 and 2.1 M provided the best protection regardless of cryoprotectant type. Spermatozoa cryopreserved in 2.1 M DMSO outperformed spermatozoa cryopreserved in equivalent concentrations of glycerol in terms of their ability to fertilise ova, resulting in higher rates of embryos hatching and several individuals reaching sexual maturity. We have demonstrated that sperm cryopreservation and subsequent offspring generation via IVF is a feasible conservation tool for L. aurea and other threatened amphibians.
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- artificial fertilisation
- captive survival-assurance colonies
- genome resource bank
- green and golden bell frog