Gene transfer technology and its applications for aquaculture

Sabaj, José Alberto Levy; Marins, Luis Fernando Fernandes; Sanchez, Armand


The gene transfer technique, transgenesis, has permitted the transfer of genes from one organism to another to create new lineages of organisms with improvement in traits important to aquaculture. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs),therefore, hold promise for producing genetic improvements, such as enhanced growth rate, increased production and efficiency, disease resistance and expanded ecological ranges. The basic procedure to generate transgenic fish for aquaculture includes: (1) design and construction of transgenic DNA; (2) transfer of the gene construct into fish germ cells; (3) screening for transgenic fish; (4) determination of transgene expression and phenotype; (5) study of inheritance; and (6) selection of stable lines of transgenics. GMOs offer economic benefits, but also pose environmental threats. Optimising the mix of benefits and risks is of fundamental importance. The potential economic benefits of transgenic technology to aquaculture are obvious. Transgenic fish production has the goal of producing food for human consumption; thus the design of genetic constructs must take into consideration the potential risks to consumer health, as well as marketing strategies and product acceptance in the market.

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