Ex-Situ conservation takes place outside of the wild.
Although the best method of conservation is preserving nature in-situ, modern-day zoos, aquariums, and other captive breeding centers serve as the last safeguard for many critically endangered species. Captive breeding programs, reintroduction, and even cloning may save endangered species. (11)
What are Frozen Zoos?
What are Seed Banks?
What is Captive Breeding?
Genome 10K project
An ambitious project is being undertaken by a team of scientists who hope to map out and sequence the genes of 10,000 vertebrate species by the year 2015. Steve O'Brien, chief of Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute, is one of the directors of this project, and has divided up five committees who each specialize on a class of animal: mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians. This project is a great method of ex-situ conservation, because the sequenced genes of endangered species could be compared to other similar species.
This tool is so useful because it could provide information on species evolution, adaptations, and ancestry, giving conservationists the best possible clues as to what projects could save the species from extinction. (34)
In order to obtain all of the samples, 55 institutions from around the world have agreed to providing access to their collections of animal tissues. (35)
To save money and time, a robot has been invented to automatically translate DNA. DNA is extracted from the tissue sample and placed in a sequencer machine. The machine can then translate the code into many thousands of letters in about 3 hours. Only 20 micrograms of DNA is needed to provide a viable sample to be sequenced. (35) However the project is proving much more difficult than scientists expected, for some rare species, like the platypus, have no closely-related species. Other problems are funding and finding viable specimens. (34)