New directions in assisted breeding techniques for fish conservation

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Fish populations continue to decline globally, signalling the need for new initiatives to conserve endangered species. Over the past two decades, with advances in our understanding of fish germ line biology, new ex situ management strategies for fish genetics and reproduction have focused on the use of germ line cells. The development of germ cell transplantation techniques for the purposes of propagating fish species, most commonly farmed species such as salmonids, has been gaining interest among conservation scientists as a means of regenerating endangered species. Previously, ex situ conservation methods in fish have been restricted to the cryopreservation of gametes or maintaining captive breeding colonies, both of which face significant challenges that have restricted their widespread implementation. However, advances in germ cell transplantation techniques have made its application in endangered species tangible. Using this approach, it is possible to preserve the genetics of fish species at any stage in their reproductive cycle regardless of sexual maturity or the limitations of brief annual spawning periods. Combining cryopreservation and germ cell transplantation will greatly expand our ability to preserve functional genetic samples from threatened species, to secure fish biodiversity and to produce new individuals to enhance or restore native populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-821
Number of pages15
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


  • cryoconservation
  • cryopreservation
  • fish biology
  • germ cell transplantation
  • gonad cryopreservation
  • sterilisation

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