The Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, was last seen alive in 2003; they are presumed now to be extinct. In fish, germ cell transplantation is currently known as one of the most powerful assisted reproductive technologies for the conservation of endangered species. In the event that a Chinese paddlefish is unexpectedly caught in the near future, we aimed to develop an experimental strategy to produce paddlefish gametes in the gonads of surrogate sturgeon. Spermatogonia were collected from the testes of 2.5-year-old immature male American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), the species most closely related to the Chinese paddlefish, by Percoll gradient centrifugation, and transplanted into the peritoneal cavity of Yangtze sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) larvae at 7-8 days post-hatch. At two months post-transplantation, donor-derived spermatogonia had efficiently colonized in the recipient gonads and proliferated. A PCR analysis developed to detect xenogenic donor-derived mtDNA sequences in recipient gonads revealed that American paddlefish germ cells survived for at least seven months after transplantation in the gonads of Yangtze sturgeon recipients. These results show that the somatic microenvironment of Yangtze sturgeon gonads was able to support the colonization, proliferation, and survival of xenogeneic germ cells from a different taxonomic family. This study provides key information that could lead to future restoration of Chinese paddlefish using germ cell transplantation.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.