Sad fact is that five of the eight species of tuna are endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, source of the Red List of threatened species. In January 2013 an international group of fisheries researchers told the world that Pacific bluefin tuna had been fished to their lowest levels in history, with the population near to collapsing as a commercial stock.
This is a problem for natural ecosystems as well as for people who like to eat tuna (it is among the world’s most important commercial fish), and marine biologist Goro Yoshizaki is looking for a way around it. Nikkei Asian Review reports that the Tokyo University-based scientist is working to implant germ cells from young tuna into mackerel, and then use the mackerel to breed tuna:
“To produce tuna using mackerel, reproductive cells are removed from tuna and transplanted into mackerel. Male mackerel possessing tuna sperm then fertilize tuna eggs held by female mackerel. Yoshizaki’s study is now at the stage where he has selected the type of mackerel suitable for producing tuna. He said he aims to finish developing the technology in five years and commercialize it in 10 years.”
Yoshizaki has had notable successes along these lines. Among the 350 scholarly articles that he’s co-authored, there’s a 2004 Nature paper on successfully breeding rainbow trout “via trout-donor germ cells transplanted into salmon” (both species are salmonids), as well as a 2012 paper in Marine Biotechnology on successfully breeding tiger puffer fish by transplanting their sperm and eggs into grass puffer fish.
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