UBC Theses and Dissertations
The reproductive physiology of triploid Pacific salmonids Benfey, Tillmann J.
Triploidy was induced in rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri Richardson, by heat shock (10 min at 26, 28 or 30°C, applied 1 min after fertilization at 10°C) and in pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Walbaum, and coho salmon, 0. kisutch Walb., by hydrostatic pressure shock (1, 2, 3 or 4 min at 69,000 kPa, applied 15 min after fertilization at 10.5°C). Triploid individuals were identified by the flow cytometric measurement of DNA content of erythrocytes stained with propidium iodide. Gonadosomatic index was reduced to a much greater extent in triploid females than males. Triploid ovaries remained very small, and contained virtually no oocytes. Triploid testes became quite large, but few cells developed beyond the spermatocyte stage. Triploid male rainbow trout had significantly lower spermatocrits than diploids, and their spermatozoa were aneuploid. Growth rates were the same for diploid and triploid rainbow trout, but triploid female pink salmon were smaller than maturing diploid females and diploid and triploid males of the same age. Triploid males of both species developed typical secondary sexual characteristics and had normal endocrine profiles for plasma sex steroids and plasma and pituitary gonadotropin, but their cycle was delayed by about one month. Triploid females developed no secondary sexual characteristics and showed no endocrine signs of maturation, even at the level of the pituitary. Vitellogenin synthesis was induced in immature diploid and triploid coho salmon by the weekly injection of 17β-estradiol. Plasma vitellogenin and pituitary gonadotropin levels were significantly elevated over levels of sham-injected fish, whereas plasma gonadotropin levels were slightly depressed. There was no significant difference between diploids and triploids for any of these results, indicating that normal vitellogenesis is not impaired by triploidy per se. It is concluded that triploids of both sexes are genetically sterile, but that only triploid females do not undergo physiological maturation. Triploid testes develop sufficiently for their steroidogenic cells to become active, which is not the case for triploid ovaries. The occasional cells that pass through the normal meiotic block develop to full maturity in triploid males but not in triploid females, probably due to the absence of the appropriate stimulus to initiate and maintain vitellogenesis. Although triploids of both sexes should make valuable tools for basic research on reproductive physiology, only the females will be useful for practical fish culture to avoid the economically detrimental effects of maturation in fish destined for human consumption.
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