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Development. 1988 Jun;103(2):403-12.

Replication, integration and stable germ-line transmission of foreign sequences injected into early zebrafish embryos.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403.


To generate stable lines of transgenic fish, early zebrafish embryos were injected with high concentrations of a linear bacterial plasmid. After injection, the foreign DNA was converted into a high molecular weight form and then amplified approximately tenfold during the initial rapid cleavages characteristic of the early embryo prior to gastrulation. While most of this DNA was subsequently degraded during gastrulation, some of the foreign sequences survived the gastrula stage and could be found in most of the injected fish at 3 weeks of age. Only about 5% of fish analysed 4 months after the injection retained foreign DNA in their fins, usually at less than one copy per cell. One of these fish was also found to contain about 100 copies per cell of foreign DNA in a fraction of its germ cells. Approximately 20% of the F1 offspring from this germ-line-positive parent inherited the foreign DNA, whereas 50% of F2 progeny obtained from an identified F1 individual inherited these sequences. The 50% transmission rate in F2 progeny was as expected for a single, heterozygous genomic insert. These observations indicate that injected DNA can be integrated into the fish genome, that the resulting transgenic fish are mosaic and that some of these mosaic individuals give rise to stable lines of transgenic fish.

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