Skip to main content navigation
Site logo

A Noah for the 21st Century


Broadcast Date: Tuesday 28th November 2006
Summary: Scientists have created the Frozen Ark to preserve and store the DNA of mammals facing extinction, before it's too late!

Press Release
Press Release
Download Audio Files

Click here to view the film (broadband)

Connection Options:
Broadband | Narrowband | Transcript | Help


monkeyScientists predict that, in the next thirty years, a quarter of the World’s Mammal species will face extinction. Recent news reports have shown that this statistic is as bad or worse for fish species and it’s a pattern that is repeated throughout the animal kingdom.

Professor Bryan Clarke, of the University of Nottingham, had first hand experience of this impending extinction of species when several species of the Partula Snails he was studying, in the South Pacific, became extinct during the course of his study!

This shocking insight into the fragility of our planet’s eco-system prompted Professor Clarke to look to ways of preserving some detailed record of endangered species for future generations – and the Frozen Ark was born.

The mission of the Frozen Ark project is to collect, preserve and store the DNA and viable cells from animals in danger of extinction. It’s being developed as a network of international centres and being led by some of the world’s foremost research organisations. In the UK, as well as the University of Nottingham, organisations include the Zoological Society of London and the Natural History Museum. Other organisations involved in this international project include, among others, such renowned facilities as The Animal Gene Storage Resource Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Hyderabad in India and The Centre for Reproduction of Endangered Species at The Zoological Society of San Diego in California, USA.
The Frozen Ark is a unique project. Designed as a research resource for future generations of scientists it will ensure access to stored material that can give them real insight into species for many generations to come.

Samples will be taken from captive-breeding programmes, zoos and wild populations to make certain that valuable scientific records of animals verging on extinction will not be lost for all time.

News feature includes:-

Professor Bryan Clarke, Co-Founder of the Frozen Ark and Professor of Genetics, University of Nottingham.
Professor Phil Rainbow, Keeper of Zoology at the NaturalHistoryMuseum, London
Professor Bill Holt, Zoological Society of London
– University of Nottingham Laboratories and office of The Frozen Ark project
– Preserved exhibits, NaturalHistoryMuseum, London.
– Endangered species (Golden Lion Tamarin and Partula Snails), London Zoo    

 Further Resources
 General Information

- University of Nottingham
- The Frozen Ark


Page contact: Kelly Newton Last revised: Wed 29 Nov 2006
Back to top of page