A team of Japanese scientists managed to successfully breed a type of salmon using surrogate parents of different species. Their discovery, presented on Tuesday, could help preserve the endangered creatures, according to the chief researcher.
Researchers froze the testes of the yamame salmon, a fish indigenous to Japan that lives its entire life in rivers, before extracting primordial germ cells and implanting them into otherwise sterile rainbow trout hatchlings.
“The eggs and sperm can be fused in vitro to produce a healthy yamame salmon”, said Goro Yoshizaki at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.
“As far as these kinds of trout and salmon are concerned, I can say this methodology is complete, and we can recreate sperm and eggs, and individuals, of the original species any time,” Yoshizaki added.
“We have confirmed the technology can also apply to tiger pufferfish as well,” he said, referring to the popular – but poisonous – Japanese delicacy.
The scientists would like to see if the same breeding process is also possible in amphibians.
“I want to upgrade one class to another so that this technology can be applied eventually to reptiles and mammals,” he said. “But the hurdle is still high because the sets of genes are much more different between male and female mammals.”