A bank for storing animal tissue is being considered as a way to reduce the number of animals killed for research.
Following similar moves in Australia and Britain, Biosecurity New Zealand is asking contractors to determine whether a tissue-sharing system could work in this country.
Animal tissue is used for a range of research, testing and teaching activities, and some ad hoc sharing of tissue already exists.
Biosecurity New Zealand wants to see what barriers exist to a formal nationwide system.
It says that, if possible, the number of animals killed for research and testing should be reduced. A final report evaluating the scheme should be in place by October.