Cryopreserved Vertebrate Tissues and Cells collection

The biological resource of Cryopreserved Vertebrate Tissues and Cells comprise around 600 different species, mainly Mammals, in more than 6,000 cryopreserved cell and tissue samples. It can provide untransformed living cells, allowing the studies of evolutionary (genetic) or physiological (cellular or metabolic) processes on a wide specific diversity.


This collection is designed for scientific research. It comprises more than 6,000 samples (cryopreserved tissue biopsies and cells) from around 600 species, mainly from Mammals and other Vertebrates, some appearing on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Each cell suspension contains circa 10 million living cells. Biopsies and cells are protected by a cryoprotectant and stored at -196°C in liquid nitrogen. This method can preserve living cells for decades.


The collection was started by Bernard Dutrillaux in 1978 at the faculty of Medicine then at Curie Institute, to develop the primate comparative cytogenetics. Later, it has been expanded at the National Museum of Natural History by Vitaly Volobouev from 1986, followed by Florence Richard from 2011, and by their students and collaborators.

The biological material originates mainly from different zoological parks and from field mission sampling conducted by scientists from the Museum. This living cell collection is the most important in Europe, and the second in the world.


The main interest of the collection is to provide untransformed living cells for a wide diversity of species. For each animal, a cytogenetic study is done systematically, and for some groups, comparative cytogenomic studies are conducted.

Other uses are frequent: cellular biology and physiology, supply of macromolecules (DNA, RNA, proteins…). The main domains for which the collection is used are comparative genomics, systematics, speciation mechanisms, phylogeny, phylogeography and conservation. Although, its use for other domains as cellular biology and physiology is growing.

Bertrand Bed'Hom: bertrand.bedhom [@]

Michèle Gerbault-Seureau: michele.gerbault-seureau [@]

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