•  | 

Hybridisation in fishes

“When the best traits are combined, it leads to the production of a more viable organism.”
Hybridisation is the process of interbreeding between organisms of different species or between genetically divergent organisms of the same species. Since the introduction of this concept by Darwin, in the context of speciation, interspecific hybridisation has enticed the attention of many emerging biologists globally.
Hybridisation in fishes is gearing up and new varieties are coming into existence both through natural and artificial processes. The process of hybridisation requires a series of experiments. Equipment breaks, weather interferences, incompatibility of the subject, etc. often hinders these experiments. And the measures to deal with these situations sometimes lead to unexpected discoveries. A similar case happened with H.William Detrich, a professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University, who discovered how sperm and eggs from icefish of two different genera can be combined to create viable offspring.As icefish has a unique set of biological characteristics, the research intended to find how warming waters as forecasted by the climate models, affect the growth and development of icefish. It involved eggs and sperm of blackfin fish. However, there were no male blackfin fish available to reproduce at that time. So, sperm from a male ocellated icefish, which belongs to a different genus, was combined with the eggs from the blackfin female. This developed into an embryo, hence led to this discovery. This finding is crucial for the study of the evolution of a peculiar creature such as icefish.
Hybridisation seeks to combine positive traits of parent species in their hybrid offspring which may include better growth, resistance to disease or changing environment, better fecundity, etc. At the same time, it can have adverse effects too. It can lead to the extinction of parent species or can make the new specie prone to more diseases. Uncontrolled hybridisation can even lead to economic loss. So, care and caution are necessary to do this. 
Kriti Vishwakarma