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Cell Res. 2000 Mar;10(1):17-27.

Embryonic and genetic manipulation in fish.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Luojiashan, Wuhan. zyzhu@ihb.ac.cn


Fishes, the biggest and most diverse community in vertebrates are good experimental models for studies of cell and developmental biology by many favorable characteristics. Nuclear transplantation in fish has been thoroughly studied in China since 1960s. Fish nuclei of embryonic cells from different genera were transplanted into enucleated eggs generating nucleo-cytoplasmic hybrids of adults. Most importantly, nuclei of cultured goldfish kidney cells had been reprogrammed in enucleated eggs to support embryogenesis and ontogenesis of a fertile fish. This was the first case of cloned fish with somatic cells. Based on the technique of microinjection, recombinant MThGH gene has been transferred into fish eggs and the first batch of transgenic fish were produced in 1984. The behavior of foreign gene was characterized and the onset of the foreign gene replication occurred between the blastula to gastrula stages and random integration mainly occurred at later stages of embryogenesis. This eventually led to the transgenic mosaicism. The MThGH-transferred common carp enhanced growth rate by 2-4 times in the founder juveniles and doubled the body weight in the adults. The transgenic common carp were more efficient in utilizing dietary protein than the controls. An "all-fish" gene construct CAgcGH has been made by splicing the common carp beta-actin gene (CA) promoter onto the grass carp growth hormone gene (gcGH) coding sequence. The CAgcGH-transferred Yellow River Carp have also shown significantly fast-growth trait. Combination of techniques of fish cell culture, gene transformation with cultured cells and nuclear transplantation should be able to generate homogeneous strain of valuable transgenic fish to fulfil human requirement in 21st century.

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