1Nanae Fresh Water Laboratory, Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido University, Nanae, Japan and 2Laboratory of Aquaculture Genetics & Genomics, Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Japan
Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the only cells in developing embryos that can transmit genetic information to the next generation. PGCs therefore have considerable potential value for gene banking and cryopreservation, particularly via production of donor gametes using germ-line chimeras. In some animal species, including teleost fish, the feasibility of using PGC transplantation to obtain donor-derived offspring, within and between species, has been demonstrated. Successful use of PGC transplantation to produce germ-line chimeras is absolutely dependent on the migration of the transplanted cells from the site of transplantation to the host gonadal region. Here, we induced germ-line chimeras between teleost species using two different protocols: blastomere transplantation and single PGC transplantation. We evaluated the methods using the rate of successful migration of transplanted PGCs to the gonadal region of the host embryo. First, we transplanted blastomeres from zebrafish, pearl danio, goldfish, or loach into blastula-stage zebrafish embryos. Some somatic cells, derived from donor blastomeres, were co-transplanted with the PGCs and formed aggregates in the host embryos; a low efficiency of PGC transfer was achieved. Second, a single PGC from the donor species was transplanted into a zebrafish embryo. In all inter-species combinations, the donor PGC migrated toward the gonadal region of the host embryo at a comparatively high rate, regardless of the phylogenetic relationship of the donor and host species. These transplantation experiments showed that the mechanism of PGC migration is highly conserved beyond the family barrier in fish and that transplantation of a single PGC is an efficient method for producing inter-species germ-line chimeras.