About animal section


The Animal Section conducts exploration, collection, characterization, preservation, and distribution services focusing on animal genetic resources raised in Japan with the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences acting as the Central Bank and with the following Sub-banks: the Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO and the National Institute of Animal Health, NARO; the Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO; and the National Livestock Breeding Center. The animals covered are the following 5 groups.

  • horse
  • pig
  • goat
  • rabbit
  • silkworm

The Animal Section has been dispatching both domestic and overseas exploration teams every year and making efforts to survey the distributions and variations of livestock animals as well as to collect versatile genetic resources. The total number of newly registered animal genetic resources amounts to over 10 items per year, including items obtained by exchanges with domestic and overseas research institutes. Some of the activities of these exploratory collections are made open to the public in the Survey Report on Animal Genetic Resources [ja].

Collected animals are identified and characterized by expert researchers. Their spermatozoa and ova are collected for preservation at the same time. The collected spermatozoa and ova are preserved for a long term under stable conditions of ultra-low temperature preservation in liquid nitrogen (either zygotes or imagos for insects). The number of registered accessions is about 2000 as of 2023.

The animal genetic resources possessed by the Genebank can be used via distribution requests for testing/research or for educational purposes. Approximately 50 accessions of animal and insect genetic resources have been distributed every year to research institutes, etc., across Japan, which have been contributing to various research and development including gene analysis, analyses of diversity and physiology/ecology, elucidation of interactions with plants, and development of fiber materials. Some of the genetic resources are utilized for breeding, like the Chinese “Meishan” prolific-line pig; and the animal genetic resources are expected to support substantial developments in the stockbreeding and agricultural fields.