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Fishy Business: Genetically Engineered Salmon

New genetically engineered salmon grows twice as fast as its traditional counterpart (fish above are the same age)

The idea of genetically modified food may give some of us the creeps. But humans have been genetically modifying crops and livestock for thousands of years through selective cultivation and breeding. So, chances are that most of the food you eat has been engineered in some way. And now, for the first time, a fish whose DNA has been altered might be swimming into your local grocery store.

AquAdvantage is a new type of transgenic Atlantic Salmon that has been modified with growth genes from two other fish – the Chinook salmon and the eel-like Ocean pout. Produced by bioengineering company AquaBounty Technologies, it promises to be cheaper and more readily available than conventional salmon.

While non-transgenic Atlantic salmon can take up to 5 years to mature fully , the new fish grow twice as quickly. That’s because their DNA is spliced with the genes of fish that mature all year, as opposed to only during warmer seasons. Here’s a graph that compares the growth rates:

The news of  “super salmon” has not come without controversy, however. Critics have dubbed it “Frankenfish” and question its safety for human consumption. After extensive testing, the FDA has yet to find any negative health impact, so the worries may be unfounded.

Here’s a news story covering the debate:

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As strange as it may seem to dine on a fish that would not exist without human intervention, AquAdvantage could cut production costs and lessen the environmental impact of everyone’s favorite seafood.

Images courtesy AquaBounty Technologies

4 Responses to “Fishy Business: Genetically Engineered Salmon”

  1. I’m amazing myself for even commenting on this topic.

    I would only eat this genetically enhanced salmon with lots of butter and a little salt – oh, and perhaps a dash of lemon.

    Ron

  2. I like this blog very much – superb info.

  3. I like this blog too

  4. i would probably eat this. as long as they filleted it (: i love me some fish!

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