Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Growth Enhancement in Transgenic Atlantic Salmon by the Use of an “All Fish” Chimeric Growth Hormone Gene Construct


We have developed an “all fish” growth hormone (GH) chimeric gene construct by using an antifreeze protein gene (AFP) promoter from ocean pout linked to a chinook salmon GH cDNA clone. After microinjection into fertilized, nonactivated Atlantic salmon eggs via the micropyle, transgenic Atlantic salmon were generated. The presence of the transgene was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using specific oligonucleotide primers. A number of these transgenic fish showed dramatic increases in their growth rate. At one year old, the average increase of the transgenic fish was 2 to 6 fold and the largest transgenic fish was 13 times that of the average non-transgenic control.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Higgs, D.A., Donaldson, E.M., Dye, H.M. and McBride, J.R. 1976. Influence of bovine growth hormone and L-thyroxine on growth, muscle composition and histological structure of gonads, thyroid, pancreas, and pituitary of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 33: 1585–1603.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Gill, J.A., Sumpter, J.P., Donaldson, E.M., Dye, H.M., Souza, L., Berg, T., Wypych, J. and Langley, K. 1985. Recombinant chicken and bovine growth hormones accelerate growth in aquacultured juvenile Pacific salmon, (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Bio/Technology 3: 643–646.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Sekine, S., Mizukami, T., Nishi, T., Kuwana, Y., Saito, A., Sato, M., Itoh, S. and Kawauchi, H. 1985. Cloning and expression of cDNA for salmon growth hormone in E. coli. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 82: 4306–4310.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Agellon, L.B., Emery, C.J., Jones, J.M., Davies, S.L., Dingle, A.D. and Chen, T.T. 1988. Promotion of rapid growth of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) by a recombinant fish growth hormone. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 45: 146–151.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Zhu, Z., Liu, G., He, L. and Chen, S. 1985. Novel gene transfer into fertilized eggs of goldfish (Carassius auratus L. 1785. Z. Angew. Ichthylo. 1: 31–34.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Rokkones, E., Alestrom, P., Skjervold, H. and Gautvik, K.M. 1989. Microinjection and expression of a mouse metallothionein human growth hormone fusion gene in fertilized salmonid eggs. J. Comp. Physiol. B. 158: 751–758.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Guyomard, R., Chourrout, D., Leroux, C., Houdebine, L.M. and Pourrain, F. 1989. Integration and germ line transmission of foreign genes microinjected into fertilized trout eggs. Biochimie 71: 857–863.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Chen, T.T., Lin, C.M., Zhu, Z., Gonzalez-Villasenor, L.I., Dunham, R.A. and Powers, D.A. 1990. Gene transfer, expression and inheritance of rainbow trout and human growth hormone genes in carp and loach, 129–139 In: Transgenic Models in Medicine and Agriculture. R.B. Church (Ed.) . Wiley-Liss, Inc, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Hew, C.L., Wang, N.-C., Joshi, S., Fletcher, G.L., Scott, G.K., Hayes, P.H., Buettner, B. and Davies, P.L., 1988. Multiple genes provide the basis for antifreeze protein diversity and dosage in the ocean pout, Macrozoarces americanus. J. Biol. Chem. 263: 12049–12055.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Hew, C.L., Trinh, K.Y., Du, S.J. and Song, S.D. 1989. Molecular cloning and expression of salmon pituitary hormones. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 7: 375–380.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Fletcher, G.L. and Davies, P.L. 1991. Transgenic fish for aquaculture, 331–370. In: Genetic Engineering, Principles and Methods. J. Setlow (Ed.). Plenum Press, NY.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Shears, M.A., Fletcher, G.L., Hew, C.L., Gauthier, S. and Davies, P.L. 1991. Transfer, expression, and stable inheritance of antifreeze protein genes in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Marine Mol. Biol. Biotech. 1: 58–63.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. de Luze, A., and Leloup, J. 1984. Fish growth hormone enhances peripheral conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine in the eel (Anguilla anguilla L.). Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 56: 308–312.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Nagler, J.J., Hwang, S.J. and Idler, D.R. 1991. Isolation of sockeye salmon growth hormone utilizing serum triiodothyronine enhancement in rainbow trout to monitor biological activity. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. In press.

  15. Zhu, Z., Xu, K., Li, G., Xie, Y. and He, L. 1986. Biological effects of human growth hormone gene microinjected into the fertilized eggs of loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus). Kexue Tongbao 31: 988–990.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Zhang, P., Hayat, M., Joyce, C., Gonzalez-villasenor, L.I., Lin, C.M., Dunham, R.A., Chen, T.T. and Powers, D.A. 1990. Gene transfer, expression and inheritance of pRSV-rainbow trout-GH cDNA in the common carp, Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus). Mol. Reproduction and Development 25: 3–13.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Barreca, A., Ciccareli, E., Minuto, F., Bruzzi, P. and Giordano, G. 1989. Insulin-like growth factor I and daily growth hormone profile in the assessment of active acromegaly. Acta Endocrinol. Copenh. 120: 629–635.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Marchant, T.A. and Peter, R.E. 1986. Seasonal variations in body growth rates and circulating levels of growth hormone in the goldfish, Carassius auratus. J. Exp. Zool. 237: 231–239.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Van Dyke, D.C., Simpson, M.E., Li, C.H. and Evans, H.M. 1950. Survival in the circulation of the growth and adrenocorticotrophic hormones as evidenced by parabiosis. Am. J. Physiol. 163: 297–309.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Chester-Jones, I., Ingleton, P.M. and Phillips, J.G. 1987. Fundamentals of Comparative Endocrinology, 395 Plenum Press, NY.

  21. Mathews, L.S., Norstedt, G. and Palmiter, R.D. 1976. Regulation of insulin-like growth factor I gene expression by growth hormone. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 83: 9343–9347.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Liu, Z., Moav, B., Faras, A.J., Guise, K.S., Kapuscinski, A.R. and Hackett, P.B. 1990. Development of expression vectors for transgenic fish. Bio/Technology 8: 1268–1272.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Fletcher, G.L., Shears, M.A., King, M.J., Davies, P.L. and Hew, C.L. 1988. Evidence for antifreeze protein gene transfer in Atlantic salmon (Salmo Salar). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 45: 352–357.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Idler, D.R., Fletcher, G.L., Belkhode, S., King, M.J. and Hwang, S.J. 1989. Regulation of antifreeze protein production in winter flounder: A unique function for growth hormone. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 74: 327–334.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Brown, S. and Eales, J.G. 1977. Measurement of L-thyroxine and 3,5,3′-triiodo-L-thyronine levels in fish plasma by radioimmunoassay. Can. J. Zool. 55: 293–299.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Johansen, B., Johnsen, O.C. and Valla, S. 1989. The complete nucleotide sequence of the growth-hormone gene from Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Gene 77: 317–324.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Du, S., Gong, Z., Fletcher, G. et al. Growth Enhancement in Transgenic Atlantic Salmon by the Use of an “All Fish” Chimeric Growth Hormone Gene Construct. Nat Biotechnol 10, 176–181 (1992).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing