Consecutive Spawnings of Chinese Amphioxus, Branchiostoma belcheri, in Captivity
- 生命科学－已发表论文 
Cephalochordate amphioxus is a promising model animal for studying the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of vertebrates because its unique phylogenetic position, simple body plan and sequenced genome. However, one major drawback for using amphioxus as a model organism is the restricted supply of living embryos since they are available only during spawning season that varies from a couple of days to several months according to species. Therefore we are aiming to develop methods for obtaining viable amphioxus embryos in non-spawning season. In the current study, we found that Branchiostoma belcheri could develop their gonads and spawn consecutively in the laboratory when cultured in a low density at a high temperature (25-28 degrees C) supplied with sufficient food and proper cleanness. Among the approximate 150 observed animals, which spawned spontaneously between November and December 2011, 10% have spawned twice, 10% three times, and 80% four times, through April 2012. The quality and quantity of the gametes reproduced in the consecutive spawning have no obvious difference with those spawned once naturally. Spawning intervals varied dramatically both among different animals (from 1 to 5 months) and between intervals of a single individual (from 27 to 74 days for one animal). In summary, we developed a method with which, for the first time, consecutive spawnings of amphioxus in captivity can be achieved. This has practical implications for the cultivation of other amphioxus species, and eventually will greatly promote the utilization of amphioxus as a model system.