Canadian Animal Genetic Resources

Canadian Animal Genetic Resources (CAGR) is a joint initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), to preserve the genetic diversity of Canadian livestock and poultry breeds, and to develop new techniques to conserve germplasm. The three branches of CAGR include Genetic Diversity, Gamete and Embryo Biology, and Cryobiology.


To ensure the genetic diversity of Canadian livestock and poultry, support environmentally friendly livestock and poultry production, and maintain food security, by acquiring, evaluating, and cryopreseving tissue and germplasm. Research is focused on genetic diversity, conservation and reproductive biology. 

Key Mandates

  • Acquire, maintain, and distribute genetic resources.
  • Characterize, evaluate, and analyze genetic diversity
  • Develop indicators of change in domestic animal genetic diversity.
  • Perform research on biology of gametes and embryos.
  • Develop new techniques for conservation of genetic resources.

Program Delivery

  • Promotion: CAGR promotes animal and poultry genetic resource conservation and integrates Canadian conservation activities with those at the global level, in particular with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  • Germplasm and Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Preservation: CAGR will cryopreserve semen, ova, embryos (germplasm), and DNA of domestic livestock and poultry to estimate genetic diversity and to allow conservation if needed. "For conserving valuable Canadian poultry genetics, CAGR is using vitrification, a new tissue preservation technique"
  • Research: Research efforts focus on developing capacity and strategy for conservation of animal and poultry genetic resources. CAGR also works to improve current methods and develop new techniques for the conservation of all domestic livestock species. Tissue donated to CAGR may be used to extract DNA for use in genetic diversity studies and to develop methods to help identify breeds.
  • Data Management: The CAGR database will contain physical and phenotypic data corresponding to DNA and germplasm maintained at the center. It will be connected to an international animal genetic resource database, including links to breed registries, participating industry representatives, producer groups and cooperating farm animal conservation initiatives.
  • Industry Liaison and Education: Co-operation, collaboration, and donations are required to preserve animal and poultry genetic resources. CAGR collaborates with the Canadian livestock and poultry industries, Provincial and Federal governments, and international stakeholders to study and conserve domestic livestock and poultry genetic resources. Education and training of highly qualified young Canadian scientists are central to and students and visiting scientists are welcome.

CAGR relies on donations of germplasm and DNA from the livestock and poultry industries, veterinarians, animal breeders and producers, as well as Canadian universities and conservation agencies. If you wish to participate and contribute to the conservation of Canada’s animal genetic resources, please do not hesitate to contact, Yves Plante, (306) 956-7209, or email: Your support is important and appreciated. Thank you!

Contact Information

Yves Plante, Genetic Diversity
Telephone: 1-(306)-385-9308
TDD/TTY: 613-773-2600

Axel Diederichsen, Acting Director of Collections
Telephone: 1-(306)-385-9465
TDD/TTY: 613-773-2600

Carl Lessard, Gamete and Embryo Biology
Telephone: 1-(306)-956-7221
TDD/TTY: 613-773-2600

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