Japan Cooks Up New Technique to Save Bluefin

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 7:15 PM CDT
A Japanese bluefin tuna that fetched nearly 10 million yen at the year-opening auction is shown at Tokyo's Tsukiji market Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.    (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
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(Newser) – Japanese scientists are racing to keep bluefin tuna from dying out by inducing another fish to give birth to them, GlobalPost reports. Overfishing has already decimated bluefin and convinced many diners, supermarket and sushi chains to avoid the fish. Now Japan is paying a Tokyo University team to replenish bluefin stock by stuffing the tuna's sperm and ovary stem cells into mackerel.

In theory, the mackarel could produce enough bluefin to multiply in the open sea and help keep the species alive. Experiments so far have been hampered by a lack of stem cells in bluefin testes, but team leader Goro Yoshizaki is optimistic. He hopes to mass produce "tuna through surrogate mackerel in less than 10 years." Only problem: His $3 million government grant runs out in 2012.