Indexed on: 26 Sep '06Published on: 26 Sep '06Published in: Molecular Reproduction and Development
An increasing number of wild fish species are in danger of extinction, often as a result of human activities. The cryopreservation of gametes and embryos has great potential for maintaining and restoring threatened species. The conservation of both paternal and maternal genetic information is essential. However, although this technique has been successfully applied to the spermatozoa of many fish species, reliable methods are lacking for the long-term preservation of fish eggs and embryos. Here, we describe a protocol for use with rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) primordial germ cells (PGCs) and document the restoration of live fish from gametes derived from these cryopreserved progenitors. Genital ridges (GRs), which are embryonic tissues containing PGCs, were successfully cryopreserved in a medium containing 1.8 M ethylene glycol (EG). The thawed PGCs that were transplanted into the peritoneal cavities of allogenic trout hatchlings differentiated into mature spermatozoa and eggs in the recipient gonads. Furthermore, the fertilization of eggs derived from cryopreserved PGCs by cryopreserved spermatozoa resulted in the development of fertile F1 fish. This PGC cryopreservation technique represents a promising tool in efforts to save threatened fish species. Moreover, this approach has significant potential for maintaining domesticated fish strains carrying commercially valuable traits for aquaculture purposes.