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Genetically modified growth affects allometry of eye and brain in salmonids

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Effects of growth acceleration on eye development have been examined in genetically modified salmonids. Growth hormone (GH) transgenic coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum, 1792)) show dramatically elevated overall body growth and an absolute increase in eye size, but relative eye growth is shifted from negatively allometric to more isometric. Thus, transgenic fish possess significantly smaller eyes relative to nontransgenic fish of the same size. Ration-restricted limitation of growth in transgenic salmon to that of wild type restores relative eye growth rate, suggesting that effects on eyes are an indirect consequence of modification of growth rate rather than a direct effect of GH overexpression. Heart, spleen, and liver did not show changes in proportion among groups, whereas total brain size showed the same response as eye. Relative eye and brain size were also reduced in a fast-growing domesticated strain of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792)), suggesting modifications of allometry are a more general effect of growth acceleration. GH mRNA levels from the transgene were elevated in eyes, whereas IGF-I mRNA was not, suggesting this organ may be regulated in a different fashion than other organs. Neural tissues with critical structural requirements for optimal function may be subject to less modification of growth rate than are other organ systems.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z11-126

Affiliations: 1: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC V7V 1N6, Canada. 2: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.

Publication date: February 3, 2012

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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