In the last few decades in Italy, Farm Animal Genetic Resources of avian species have rapidly declined. In addition to in vivo management, in vitro conservation is also a strategic method used in order to secure genetic diversity within a wide range of lines and breeds. Semen cryopreservation is the most adapt technology within ex situ in vitro conservation programs, to maintain the avian genetic resources in gene banks. Recently, thanks the financed project ‘TuBAvI’ research groups from Molise and Milan have realized the first Italian semen cryobank of native chicken and turkey breeds. The aim of this work is to describe all of the activities fundamental for the creation of turkey semen cryobank: (1) the identification of a successful freezing protocols; (2) the write up of the standard operative procedures (SOP); and finally (3) the storage of turkey semen doses in the cryobank and hence its implementation. The identified reference cryopreservation protocol guarantees at least 30% of live and motile spermatozoa after the freezing process and ensures an adequate fertility rate. The freezing protocol reference involves the procedure which is reported here. The semen is pre-extended with Lake diluent, cooled at 4 °C for 25 min and diluted with freezing extender to reach the final concentration of 10% dimethylsulfoxide, 0.5 mM Ficoll and 3 × 109 sperm/mL. Then, the semen is loaded into 0.25 mL plastic straws and equilibrated at 4 °C for 20 min and frozen by exposure at the height of 10 cm above liquid nitrogen vapor for 10 min. The draw up of the SOP results as important because there has been no regulation on the organization and management of an avian germplasm cryobank. However, the draw up of the SOP included the FAO indications and the following aspects: the choice of priority breeds, selection of semen donors, infrastructures and storage sites, cryopreservation process, doses traceability and management of cryobank. Currently, 85 turkey semen doses from Nero d’Italia, Romagnolo, Ermellinato di Rovigo and Bronzato breeds are stored in the first Italian cryobank.
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