Biological Characteristics of Fish Germ Cells and their Application to Developmental Biotechnology


Author’s address (for correspondence): G Yoshizaki, Department of Marine Biosciences, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Tokyo, Japan. E-mail:


We have revealed several unique characteristics of germ cell development using rainbow trout, including the fact that spermatogonia transplanted into the peritoneal cavity of newly hatched embryos migrate toward recipient gonads, that spermatogonia transplanted into female recipients start oogenesis and produce functional eggs and that diploid germ cells transplanted into triploid trout can complete gametogenesis. By combining these unique features of fish germ cells, we established allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation systems for spermatogonia in several fish species. Spermatogonia isolated from the mature testes of vasa-green fluorescent protein (Gfp) transgenic rainbow trout were transplanted into the peritoneal cavity of triploid masu salmon newly hatched embryos. These spermatogonia migrated toward recipient salmon genital ridges with extending pseudopodia and were subsequently incorporated into them. We further confirmed that the donor-derived spermatogonia resumed gametogenesis and produced sperm and eggs in male and female salmon recipients, respectively. By inseminating the resulting eggs and sperm, we obtained only rainbow trout offspring in the F1 generation, suggesting that the triploid salmon recipients produced functional gametes derived only from donor trout. We further confirmed that this intra-peritoneal transplantation of germ cells is applicable to several marine fishes, which could be of benefit in the production of bluefin tuna that has a large broodstock (>100 kg) and is difficult to maintain in captivity. Gamete production of bluefin tuna could be more easily achieved by generating a surrogate species, such as mackerel, that can produce tuna gametes.