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The Exotic Genome Repository was founded in 2014 to create a centralized scientific resource for the captive exotic community. EGR is a multi-institutional distributed bank that receives and curates tissue and genetic samples in combination with health data for animals present in captivity within the United States, as well as information from subsequent scientific endeavors. This is a collaborative effort bringing together scientists from multiple academic institutions, conservationists, veterinarians, and animal husbandry specialists in an effort to direct scientific resources towards preserving these vulnerable species for future generations.

EGR utilizes redundantly distributed storage to ensure tissues and genetic materials are preserved in multiple locations to minimize the likelihood of loss. To facilitate use, a confidential and secure, web-accessible database contains individual information, pedigree data, genomic information, and health records. Though the initial focus of EGR is on wild felids in captivity, the infrastructure and interface can be utilized for non-mammalian species in the future. Easy-to-use forms enable animals to be logged into the system when samples are submitted to one of the key laboratories, so that medical and pedigree information can be easily accessed and compared across the captive populations in the US. Additional modules for nutrition, veterinary scheduling, and reproductive assessments are also under development.

Captive conservation and management programs play an increasingly vital role in a world where habitat destruction and human encroachment continues to threaten many populations of endangered wild felids. International in-country species conservation efforts focus on preserving habitat and diversity in the wild in partnership with local communities.

 

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