World’s First Somatic Cell Nuclear Transplant Fish and World’s First Transgenic Fish

World’s first somatic cell nuclear transplant fish
 (Credit: IHB)

In the early 1980s, by means of the serial nuclear transplantation technique, IHB scientists transferred a short-term cultured kidney cell nucleus of triploid crucian carp into the enucleated oocytes of diploid crucian carp and obtained the first sexually matured somatic cell nuclear transplant fish. This is the world’s first evidence that the differentiated somatic cells of vertebrates retain developmental totipotency and are able to undergo dedifferentiating and reprogramming. This cloned fish, bred by IHB, was born some 10 years earlier than Dolly, the world’s first somatic cell cloned sheep that was born in the UK.   

In 1985, IHB researchers conducted the world’s first successful transgenic study with agronomic traits and reported the first successful gene transfer in fish. A complete theoretical model of transgenic fish was then built up, leading to a new research era of fish gene-engineered breeding. IHB’s relevant studies have been at the forefront of the world. In recent years, IHB researchers generated the champion carp which grows fast and the sterile triploid carp which has a broad potential for breeding promotion. With more experiments conducted and more detailed data collected, IHB’s studies on the evaluation of the potential ecological risks posed by the champion fish, and its reproductive containment strategies and aquaculture pattern are more advanced than the United States, and are widely acknowledged by the international peers. 

IHB generated the world’s first transgenic fish and participated in the generation of nuclear transferred fish led by Prof. Tong Dizhou, one of the founding members of experimental embryology in China. These two achievements were cited by The Timetables of Science: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in the History of Science (edited by A. Hellemans & B. Bunch, 1991, publisher: Simon & Schuster) as two significant research achievements of China in the 20th century. 

Champion carp (all-fish gh-transgenic common carp) and control carp (8 months old) (Credit: IHB)