Wong, T.T., Zohar, Y. (2015) Production of reproductively sterile fish: A mini-review of germ cell elimination technologies. General and comparative endocrinology. 221:3-8.
As seafood consumption shifts from fisheries harvests to artificially propagated aquatic species, the increase of aquaculture activities poses a biological threat to our environment. Selectively bred, non-native and (eventually) genetically engineered farmed fish may escape from aquaculture operations, propagate and/or interbreed with wild stocks and subsequently alter the genetic makeup of populations in the environment. Thus, an effective strategy for bio-containment of farmed fish is critically needed. Farming reproductively sterile fish is the most environmentally sustainable approach to ensure complete bio-containment in large-scale aquaculture operations. Chromosome set manipulations to produce sterile fish, including polyploidy and hybridization, are currently the most common practices in the aquaculture industry. However, they do not always result in 100% sterility of the treated fish. Moreover, triploid fish typically do not perform as well as the non-manipulated diploids under commercial culture conditions. In the last half decade, several genetic engineering methods have been developed to produce sterile fish. In this review, we will address the latest technologies that use transgenic approaches to eliminate germ cells, resulting in the production of sterile fish. These latest advances also led us to the development of egg/embryo immersion methodologies to deliver and screen compounds that can be used to eliminate primordial germ cells and produce sterile fish. This emerging non-transgenic strategy for the production of reproductively sterile fish in aquaculture will also be discussed.