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Frozen Ark Project

White rhinos

The Frozen Ark Project is a collaborative global effort to safeguard the DNA, tissue and viable cells of the world’s endangered animals.

The Frozen Ark Project is a biobanking charity, with headquarters at the University of Nottingham and a research team currently based at the University. It was founded in 2004 by Professor Bryan Clarke FRS, Dr Ann Clarke, and Dame Anne McLaren, with the help of the three founding partner organisations:

  • University of Nottingham
  • Natural History Museum
  • Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Our aims

The Project is one of the many organisations that are working hard to halt the loss of biodiversity, by ensuring that all biological material that has been collected from threatened animal species is properly curated, and used responsibly and sustainably in conservation management and research.

We aim to achieve this goal by:

  • coordinating global efforts in animal biobanking
  • sharing expertise
  • offering help to organisations and governments that wish to set up biobanks in their own countries
  • providing the physical and informatics infrastructure that will allow conservationists and researchers to search for, locate and use this material wherever possible without having to re-sample from wild populations.

National Archive

With the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Frozen Ark is also now concentrating efforts in developing a National Archive for DNA and tissues of native British animals, with a special focus on species that have suffered drastic population declines in the past few decades, such as the hedgehog.


Dr Mafalda Bento Costa

Dr Mafalda Bento Costa

Research Associate

+44 (0)29 2087 5073

Josie D'Urban Jackson

Georgina Russell

Léonie Dommett

Jude Smith


Funded by a £1 million BBSRC grant, CryoArks is the UK's first national zoological biobank, and will build upon the work of the Frozen Ark Project and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) biobank based at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) / Edinburgh Zoo.

This initiative brings together Cardiff University, the Natural History Museum, the National Museums Scotland, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, University of Nottingham, and the University of Edinburgh.

The resource will give researchers across the UK access to tissues, cells and DNA from endangered species and other wildlife, which can be used in their research and for conservation planning.