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September 14, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Scientific Salvation or Frankenfish?

From an Associated Press story in The Santa Fe New Mexican:

Papa salmon plus mama salmon equals ... baby trout?

Japanese researchers put a new spin on surrogate parenting as they engineered one fish species to produce another in a quest to preserve endangered fish.

The Tokyo University inventors . . . injected newly hatched salmon with stem cells destined to grow into sperm . . . culled from male rainbow trout. . . . [Ten] of 29 male salmon who got the injections produced trout sperm, called milt.

Here’s the bigger surprise: Injecting the male cells into female salmon sometimes worked, too, prompting five female salmon to ovulate trout eggs. That’s a scientific first . . . .

[Researchers] used the salmon-grown trout sperm to fertilize both wild trout eggs and the salmon-grown trout eggs. DNA testing confirmed all the dozens of resulting baby fish were pure trout, he reported. Moreover, those new trout grew up able to reproduce.

What do you think of this stunning development? Could surrogate broodstocking be the answer to producing endangered fish that are difficult to breed in captivity? Or does messing with nature give you pause?

Comments

Evan V

Now incorporate this technology into great lakes salmon and brook trout. The east needs its brook trout back.

Matt Mallery

Here we go screwing with nature again. It always turns out badly.

Blue Ox

Isn't this why Godzilla destroyed tokyo the firt time?

Blue Ox

'first'. sorry.

don mitchell

IF IT DONT MAKE SOME KIND OF FREAKIN MONSTERS, THEN SO BE IT.THE GREATLAKES COULD USE SOME HELP.

ZACK

all it takes is a few genetic mutations once in a while and eventually there could start to be problems that could spread to the rest of the population. It would be like speeding up natural selection. Probably not a good idea.

Zach

I'd be more comfortable seeing it used in more controlled environments for quite some time before trying it in the wild. If they could prove that the method never creates any "frankenfish" then it would be a cool option. If that can't be assured, then it should be banned from our lakes and rivers.

In general, though, it seems like a neat idea to have more options for breedstock in fish farms, as opposed to relying on the "real" thing. If they can use fish that breed more readily, there's a better chance for boosting the struggling populations faster.

Blue Ox

What we need is a muskie-bullshark frankenfish, something to control these pesky asian carp...

bill Kopp

How about breeding a fish that eats cormorants? Us bass fisherman would love that.

Greg

WE have to be very careful when messing around with mother nature!




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