Skip to main content


Log in

Characterization and multi-generational stability of the growth hormone transgene (EO-1α) responsible for enhanced growth rates in Atlantic Salmon

Transgenic Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

An Erratum to this article was published on 10 January 2007


Transgenic technologies provide a promising means by which desirable traits can be introduced into cultured fish species within a single generation thus accelerating the production of genetically superior broodstock for aquaculture. However, before such fish are allowed to be marketed as food they must receive government regulatory approval. Two pivotal regulatory requirements are: (1) complete characterization of the genomically integrated transgene and, (2) demonstration that the transgene remains stable over multiple generations. We have generated a stable line of growth hormone (GH) transgenic Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) using an “all fish” gene construct (opAFP-GHc2) containing a growth hormone cDNA from chinook salmon whose expression is regulated by the 5′ promoter and 3′ termination regions derived from an ocean pout antifreeze protein (AFP) gene. In this study we show that a reorganized form of the opAFP-GHc2 construct (termed EO-1α) integrated as a single functional copy into a 35 bp repeat region of the genomic DNA. PCR based mapping revealed that the linear sequence of the EO-1α integrant was organized as follows: base pairs 1580–2193 of the ocean pout promoter region followed by the intact chinook salmon GH cDNA, the complete ocean pout antifreeze 3′ region, and the first 1678 bp of the ocean pout antifreeze 5′ region. Sequence analysis of the EO-1α integrant and genomic flanking regions in F2 and F4 generation salmon revealed that they were identical. In addition, apart from the disruption at the integration sites, the consensus sequences of the integrant in these two generations of salmon were identical to the sequence of the opAFP-GHc2 construct. These results indicate that the EO-1α transgene codes for the chinook salmon GH, and that the transgene and the integration site have remained stable over multiple generations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions


  • Deitch EJ, Fletcher GL, Peterson LH, Costa LASF, Shears MA, Driedzic WR, Gamperl AK (2006) Cardiorespiratory modifications, and limitations, in post-smolt growth hormone transgenic Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). J Exp Biol DOI: 10.1242/jeb.02105

  • Devlin RH, Yesaki TY, Biagi CA, Donaldson EM, Swansen P, Chan WK (1994) Extraordinary salmon growth. Nature 371:209–210

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Devlin RH (1997) Transgenic Salmonids. In: Houdebine LM (ed) Transgenic animals, generation and use. Harwood Academic Publishers, pp105–117

  • Devlin RH, Biagi CA, Yesaki TY, Smailus DE, Byatt JC (2001) Growth of domesticated transgenic fish. Nature 409:781–782

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Du SJ, Gong Z, Tan CH, Fletcher GL, Hew CL (1992a) Development of an all-fish gene cassette for gene transfer in aquaculture. Mol Mar Biol Biotech 1:290–300

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Du SJ, Gong ZY, Fletcher GL, Shears MA, King MJ, Idler DR, Hew CL (1992b) Growth enhancement in transgenic Atlantic salmon by the use of an “all fish” chimeric growth hormone gene construct. Bio/Technol (NY) 10:176–181

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Du SJ (1993) The isolation and characterization of chinook salmon GH genes and the creation of fast-growing Atlantic salmon by GH gene transfer. PhD Thesis, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

  • Dunham RA, Chitmanat C, Nichols A, Argue B, Powers DA, Chen TT (1999) Predator avoidance of transgenic channel catfish containing salmonid growth hormone genes. Mar Biotechnol (NY) 1:545–551

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Environment Canada (2005) Guidelines for the notification and testing of new substances: organisms. Section 4 technical information requirements.

  • FAO (1999) The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 1998. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2003) FAO/WHO Expert consultation on the safety assessment of foods derived from genetically modified animals, including fish, Rome, 17–21 November, 2003

  • Fletcher GL, Davies PL (1991) Transgenic fish for aquaculture. In: Setlow JK (ed) Genetic engineering, principles and methods, vol. 13. Plenum Press, New York, pp331–370

  • Fletcher GL, SV Goddard, MA Shears, Sutterlin A, Hew CL (2001) Transgenic salmon: potential and hurdles. In: Toutant JP, Balazs, E (eds) Proceedings OECD symposium on “Molecular Farming,” pp 57–65

  • Fletcher GL, Shears MA, Yaskowiak E, King MJ, Goddard SV (2004) Gene transfer: potential to enhance the genome of Atlantic Salmon for aquaculture. Aust J Exp Ag 44:1095–1100

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gjedrem T (1997) Selective breeding to improve aquaculture production. World Aquacult 28:33–45

    Google Scholar 

  • Gong Z, Vielkind JR, Hew CL (1991) Functional analysis and temporal expression of promoter regions from fish antifreeze protein genes in transgenic Japanese medaka embryos. Mol Mar Biol Biotech 1:64–72

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gong Z, Hew CL (1995) Transgenic fish in aquaculture and developmental biology. Curr Top Dev Biol 30:177–214

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hew CL, Wang NC, Joshi S, Fletcher GL, Scott GK, Hayes PH, Buettner B, Davies PL (1988) Multiple genes provide the basis for antifreeze protein diversity and dosage in the ocean pout, Macrozoarces americanus. J Biol Chem 263:12049–12055

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hew CL, Trinh KY, Du SJ, Song S (1989) Molecular cloning and expression of salmon pituitary hormones. Fish Physiol Biochem 7:375–380

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hew CL, Fletcher GL (1996) Transgenic salmonid fish expressing exogenous salmonid growth hormone. US Patent No. 5,545,808

  • Hew CL, Du SJ, Gong Z, Shears MA, King MJ, Fletcher GL, Davies PL, Saunders RL (1998) Use of the fish antifreeze protein gene promoter in the production of growth hormone-transgenic salmon with enhanced growth performance. In: Altman A (ed) Biotechnology in Aquaculture. Marcel Dekker, Inc., pp 549–561

  • Hew CL, Fletcher GL (2001) Gene construct for production of transgenic fish. European Patent number 0,578,653, B1

  • Houdebine LM, Chourrout D (1991) Transgenesis in fish. Experentia 47:891–897

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (1992) Aquaculture in the United States: status, opportunities, and recommendations. A report to the federal coordinating council on science, engineering and technology. Available from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Aquaculture, Washington, DC

  • Kochhar HS (2004) Notification guidelines for the environmental assessment of biotechnology—derived livestock animals. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Health and Production Devision, Veterinary Biologics Section.

  • Kohli A, Leech M, Vain P, Laurie DA, Christou P (1998) Transgene organization in rice engineered through direct DNA transfer supports a two-phase integration mechanism mediated by the establishment of integration hot spots. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 95(12):7203–7208

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Liao J, Chan CH, Gong Z (1997) An alternative linker-mediated polymerase chain reaction method using a dideoxynucleotide to reduce amplification background. Anal Biochem 253:137–139

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Martinez R, Estrada MP, Berlanga J, Guillen I, Hernandez O, Cabrera E, Pimentel R, Morales R, Herrera F, Morales A, Pina JC, Abad Z, Sanchez V, Melamed P, Lleonart R, de la Fuente J (1996) Growth enhancement in transgenic tilapia by ectopic expression of tilapia growth hormone. Mol Mar Biol Biotechnol 1:62–70

    Google Scholar 

  • Nam Y, Noh J, Cho Y, Cho H, Cho K, Kim C, Kim D (2001) Dramatically accelerated growth and extraordinary gigantism of transgenic mud loach Misgurnus mizolepis. Transgenic Res 10:353–362

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • New MB (1997) Aquaculture and the capture fisheries—balancing the scales. World Aquacult 28:11–30

    Google Scholar 

  • Pauly D, Christensen V, Dalsgaard J, Froese R, Torres F Jr (1998) Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279:860–863

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pitkanen TI, Krasnov A, Teerijoki H, Molsa H (1999) Transfer of growth hormone (GH) transgenes into Arctic charr. (Salvelinus alpinus L.) I. Growth response to various GH constructs. Genet Anal 15:91–98

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rahman MA, Ronyai A, Engidaw BZ, Jauncey K, Hwang G, Smith A, Roderick E, Pennman D, Varadi L, Maclean N (2001) Growth and nutrition trials of transgenic Nile tilapia containing an exogenous fish growth hormone gene. J Fish Biol 59:62–78

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rise ML, von Schalburg KR, Brown GD, Mawer MA, Devlin RH, Kuipers N, Busby M, Beetz-Sargent M, Alberto R, Gibbs AR, Hunt P, Shukin R, Zeznik JA, Nelson C, Jones SR, Smailus DE, Jones SJ, Schein JE, Marra MA, Butterfield YS, Stott JM, Ng SH, Davidson WS, Koop BF (2004) Development and application of a salmonid EST database and cDNA microarray: data mining and interspecific hybridization characteristics. Genome Res 14:478–490

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T (1989) Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual, 2nd edn. Cold Spring Harbor Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY

    Google Scholar 

  • U.S. FDA (1995) Points to consider in the manufacture and testing of therapeutic products for human use derived from transgenic animals. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

  • Watson R, Pauly D (2001) Systematic distortions in world fisheries catch trends. Nature 414:534–536

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wu B, Sun YH, Wang YP, Wang YW, Zhu ZY (2004) Sequences of transgene insertion sites in transgenic F4 common carp. Transgenic Res 13:95–96

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wu B, Sun YH, Wang YW, Wang YP, Zhu ZY (2005) Characterization of transgene integration pattern in F4 hGH-transgenic common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). Cell Res 15:447–454

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhu Z (1992) Generation of fast growing transgenic fish, methods and mechanisms. In: Hew CL, Fletcher GL (eds), Transgenic fish, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 92–119

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhu ZY, Sun YH (2000) Embryonic and genetic manipulation of fish. Cell Res 10:17–27

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zbikowska HM (2003) Fish can be first-advances to fish transgenesis for applications. Transgenic Res 12:379–389

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Garth L. Fletcher.

Additional information

An erratum to this article is available at

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yaskowiak, E.S., Shears, M.A., Agarwal-Mawal, A. et al. Characterization and multi-generational stability of the growth hormone transgene (EO-1α) responsible for enhanced growth rates in Atlantic Salmon. Transgenic Res 15, 465–480 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: