Transgenic fish are produced by the artificial transfer of rearranged genes into newly fertilized eggs. Currently microinjection is the preferred method, although the integration rates of transgenes are generally low. A number of fusion genes, containing retrovirus sequences which direct integration, have been developed to enhance integration of transgenes. Mass gene transfer methods are also being developed. These include lipofection, particle bombardment, and electroporation of embryos and sperm cells. These methods are potentially useful for marine organisms such as crustaceans and molluscs as well as fish. In contrast to microinjection, which treats single cells individually, these methods can transfer genes into a large number of eggs at once. There is some evidence to indicate successful integration and expression of transgenes transferred by the electroporation of embryos and sperm cells. Germline transmission of transgenes has been observed through mating studies, and in some cases the progeny express the new phenotype consistently. However, germline transmission does not necessarily confirm stable integration of the transgene. There is evidence that transgenes may exist extrachromosomally. Transgenic fish are viewed as a useful model for the study of complex biological phenomena such as growth and differentiation, and as a fast track to the production of broodstock for the aquaculture industry. Current research focuses on the elucidation of the mechanisms controlling the regulation of gene expression. The use of transgenic fish for the isolation of developmental genes has just begun. Applications of transgenesis to broodstock development have been focused on the development of fish with accelerated growth, tolerance to low temperature, and disease resistance. However, before the release of transgenic fish into the environment, the possible impact on the environment must be assessed. There must be safeguards to protect the genetic diversities of the natural populations, and to conserve the natural habitats
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2004
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