Early Life-History Consequences of Growth-Hormone Transgenesis in Rainbow Trout Reared in Stream Ecosystem Mesocosms
2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 3, e0120173Article in journal (Refereed) Published
There is persistent commercial interest in the use of growth modified fishes for shortening production cycles and increasing overall food production, but there is concern over the potential impact that transgenic fishes might have if ever released into nature. To explore the ecological consequences of transgenic fish, we performed two experiments in which the early growth and survival of growth-hormone transgenic rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were assessed in naturalized stream mesocosms that either contained predators or were predator-free. We paid special attention to the survival bottleneck that occurs during the early life-history of salmonids, and conducted experiments at two age classes (first-feeding fry and 60 days post-first-feeding) that lie on either side of the bottleneck. In the late summer, the first-feeding transgenic trout could not match the growth potential of their wildtype siblings when reared in a hydrodynamically complex and oligotrophic environment, irrespective of predation pressure. Furthermore, overall survival of transgenic fry was lower than in wild-type (transgenic = 30% without predators, 8% with predators; wild-type = 81% without predators, 31% with predators). In the experiment with 60-day old fry, we explored the effects of the transgene in different genetic backgrounds (wild versus domesticated). We found no difference in overwinter survival but significantly higher growth by transgenic trout, irrespective of genetic background. We conclude that the high mortality of GH-transgenic trout during first-feeding reflects an inability to sustain the basic metabolic requirements necessary for life in complex, stream environments. However, when older, GH-transgenic fish display a competitive advantage over wild-type fry, and show greater growth and equal survival as wild-type. These results demonstrate how developmental age and time of year can influence the response of genotypes to environmental conditions. We therefore urge caution when extrapolating the results of GH-transgenesis risk assessment studies across multiple life-history or developmental stages.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 10, no 3, e0120173
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-252225DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120173ISI: 000351880000069PubMedID: 25807001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-252225DiVA: diva2:810128