Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique that has been successfully used for assisting reproduction in mammals. However, this method is still not reliable in nonmammalian species, including teleosts. We succeeded in producing medaka individuals by ICSI with a rate of 13.4% (28 hatched embryos out of 209 eggs fertilized by ICSI), the best value reported so far in teleosts, including zebrafish and Nile tilapia. Although the technique was based on that developed for mammalian eggs, some critical modifications were made to adjust it to the medaka egg, which has a thick and hard envelope (the chorion) and a single sperm entry site (the micropyle). Medaka ICSI was performed by injecting a demembranated spermatozoon into an egg cytoplasm through the micropyle 10–15 sec after egg activation induced by a piezo-actuated vibration, the site and timing of sperm penetration being consistent with those in normal fertilization in medaka. To increase the efficiency of ICSI in medaka, we found that the fertilization by ICSI should precisely mimic the fertilization by insemination with intact sperm, both spatially and temporally. The success rate of ICSI was highly variable in batches of eggs (ranging from 0% to 56%), suggesting that the conditions of eggs are important factors in stabilizing the production of individuals by ICSI. The success in medaka ICSI provides a basis for future research to understand the basic mechanisms in gamete biology of teleosts as well as for development of new technology that can yield valuable applications in fisheries science.
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Vol. 80 • No. 1