Chapter 16 Specificity of Germ Cell Technologies in Sturgeons

  • Martin PšeničkaEmail author
  • Taiju Saito


Sturgeons are one of the oldest, biggest, most valuable and today also most endangered group of fish species. Germ stem cells (GSCs), such us embryonic primordial germ cells (PGCs) or spermatogonial/oogonial stem cells, can be a key for an effective conservation and possible restoration of these unique and astonishing fishes. In this chapter, labeling, development, isolation, and transplantation of GSCs were studied in sturgeons. It was shown that the maternally supplied germ plasm, which determines the PGC origin, is localized in vegetal pole of ovulated egg and remains there throughout the cleavage period, and therefore, the PGC specification pattern is similar to that of anuran amphibians rather than teleostean fishes. This knowledge enabled to develop an original PGC labeling method using common cell tracer dye injection into the vegetal pole of two- to eight-cell stage embryo. Next inhibition of maternally supplied dead end RNA resulted in PGC mismigration and general sterilization of individuals. This method enables preparation of recipients for germ cell transplantation. Isolation and transplantation of spermatogonia and oogonia were developed as well. It was tested that one sturgeon juvenile (Siberian sturgeon) can provide approximately one million germ cells suitable for transplantation. Moreover, it was shown that these cells are capable of propagation via an in vitro culture system and of cryopreservation. After freezing/thawing of sturgeon gonadal tissue followed by enzymatic dissociation, above 90% of viable cells were obtained and used for transplantation. The technique of surrogate production can be applied for conservation and possibly restoration of critically endangered sturgeon species with a long term of maturation and a big body size (e.g., beluga), whereas a more common species with shorter term of maturation and smaller body size (e.g., sterlet) can be used as a recipient (surrogate parent).


Xenotransplantation Germ-line chimera Sturgeon Surrogate production Germ cells 



This study has been financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic-projects CENAKVA (LM2018099), project Biodiversity (CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_025/0007370), and the Czech Science Foundation (grant number 16-02407Y).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, Bohemian Research Center of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of HydrocenosesVodňanyCzech Republic
  2. 2.Nishiura Station, South Ehime Fisheries Research Center, Ehime UniversityUchidomari, AinanJapan

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