Dad s baby isn t fishy

indian scientists have evolved a cost-effective genetic technique to breed offspring of endangered fish. "The method will boost conservation efforts especially at grassroots level because it can be used even in laboratories with modest facilities,' claims T J Pandian, leader of the team from Tamil Nadu-based Madurai Kamaraj University that has developed the technique.

As many as 2,118 fish species are found in India, out of which 50 are of economic importance. Several studies have shown the country's fish biodiversity is fast dwindling for reasons such as habitat destruction and overfishing. Therefore, it is imperative to protect their gene pool.

Of late, cloning as emerged as a viable technique to conserve most species. It involves creating an animal by transferring genetic material of an adult cell into an egg whose genetic material has been removed. The egg is subsequently treated with chemicals or exposed to electric current to induce cell division, which leads to the creation of an embryo.

Such cellular manipulations are difficult in fish as the nucleus of their cell is not easily traceable. Hence, scientists have been looking for alternatives.

Captive breeding is one option, but it too has drawbacks