Technological Reality

Since the first publication in 1987, more than 1,400 articles have been published dealing with transgenic fish. The first technique employed was micro-injection into one-cell-stage embryos. It is operant, but lacks efficiency: the first generation is mosaic; neither the copy number nor the genomic location of the transgene is controlled. This leads to (1) the inevitable production of two generations before the transgenic line can be stabilized, (2) the lack of control of transgene expression, and (3) the selection of an integration event. This technique is still the easiest and most employed, and transgenesis has been carried out on the main aquaculture species and model fish. For most of the cases, transgenic aquaculture species are initially produced in research laboratories to study the main functions (growth, reproduction, disease resistance). The number of transgenic model fish lines produced has largely increased in recent years because of gene function and regulation studies. This leads to a strong dynamic for improving transgenesis efficiency: techniques for mass transformation, facilitation of genomic integration, and control of the site of integration are currently being tested. The patents published so far (90 references) serve five different purposes:

- Improved livestock production (40%)

- Bio-protein production (20%)

- Dedicated biosensors, sentinel fish (10%)

- Appearance of ornamental fish (6%)

The risk of fortuitous presence is a reality, and transgenesis production and purposes will rapidly evolve. Our strategy is:

(i) To quantify the actual risk by merging results obtained so far on transgenic fish with economic data

(ii) To anticipate the evolution of GM fish by characterizing the impact of the transgene and transgenesis techniques on transgene stability and flow

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