The tilapia fish (Oreochromis niloticus) has an important place in the aquaculture of the developing world. It is also a very useful laboratory animal, and readily lends itself to the transgenic technology. Through the use of reporter genes, a range of potential gene promoters have been tested in tilapia, both through transient and stable expression of the reporter construct. Using the transgenic technology, growth enhanced lines of tilapia have been produced. These fish have no abnormalities and offer a considerable growth advantage for future exploitation. It is however crucial that transgenic fish, to be exploited in aquaculture, be sterile, and various methods of achieving sterility are considered. These include triploidy, gene knock out of crucial hormone encoding genes via homologous recombination, and knock down of the function of the same genes via ribozyme or antisense technologies. Transgenic tilapia also offer the potential for exploitation as biofactories in the production of valuable pharmaceutical products, and this is also discussed.
Gene (2002) 295 (2) 265-277 [doi:10.1016/S0378-1119(02)00735-7]