Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(15):4426-4441. doi:10.7150/ijbs.63266 This issue

Research Paper

Successful Spermatogonial Stem Cells Transplantation within Pleuronectiformes: First Breakthrough at inter-family Level in Marine Fish

Li Zhou1,2,3*, Xueying Wang1,2*, Qinghua Liu1,2✉, Jingkun Yang1, Shihong Xu1,2, Zhihao Wu1, Yanfeng Wang1,2, Feng You1, Zongcheng Song4, Jun Li1,2✉

1. The Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China.
2. Laboratory for Marine Biology and Biotechnology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China.
3. College of Life Science, Ningde Normal University, Engineering Research Center of Mindong Aquatic Product Deep-Processing, Fujian Province University, Ningde, China.
4. Weihai Shenghang Aquatic Product Science and Technology Co. Ltd., Weihai, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Zhou L, Wang X, Liu Q, Yang J, Xu S, Wu Z, Wang Y, You F, Song Z, Li J. Successful Spermatogonial Stem Cells Transplantation within Pleuronectiformes: First Breakthrough at inter-family Level in Marine Fish. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(15):4426-4441. doi:10.7150/ijbs.63266. Available from

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Graphic abstract

As a promising biotechnology, fish germ cell transplantation shows potentials in conservation germplasm resource, propagation of elite species, and generation of transgenic individuals. In this study, we successfully transplanted the Japanese flounder (P. olivaceus), summer flounder (P. dentatus), and turbot (S. maximus) spermatogonia into triploid Japanese flounder larvae, and achieved high transplantation efficiency of 100%, 75-95% and 33-50% by fluorescence tracking and molecular analysis, respectively. Eventually, donor-derived spermatozoa produced offspring by artificial insemination. We only found male and intersex chimeras in inter-family transplantations, while male and female chimeras in both intra-species and intra-genus transplantations. Moreover, the intersex chimeras could mature and produce turbot functional spermatozoa. We firstly realized inter-family transplantation in marine fish species. These results demonstrated successful spermatogonial stem cells transplantation within Pleuronectiformes, suggesting the germ cells migration, incorporation and maturation within order were conserved across a wide range of teleost species.

Keywords: Pleuronectiformes, germ cell transplantation, spermatogonia, triploid recipient, inter-family