Sunday, November 21, 2010

Genetically Enhanced Salmon

Yes, you read right.

Due to a dwindling population of wild Salmon, and the current inefficient way 'farmed' salmon are bread, scientists have developed a new way that should solve an issue. Currently, salmon that are 'farmed' are fed fish oil and fish meal- both of which only come from wild fish. This only makes the wild population worse.

However, scientists have looked into a new way of tackling this serious problem- and found one. They have added two foreign DNA strands into these genetically modified Atlantic salmon. The first is a growth hormone from Chinook salmon. This makes them grow much faster (a little over a year, as opposed to three years to reach full size) but does not grow them bigger than regular Atlantic salmon. The second is an anti-freeze gene from ocean pout, an eel-like fish from the North Atlantic ocean. Placed side by side, the anti-freeze gene allows the salmon to be effected by the growth hormone when they normally wouldn't.

The FDA is currently reviewing this GM Salmon for evaluation for US consumption. If they approve the GM salmon, they will become the first transgenic animal allowed for human consumption in the United States.

What's my take on this? I'm not particularly a fan of foreign hormones in my food... but considering they're from other closely-related fish, I don't see a huge problem with it. The bigger problem here is if we didn't do something- salmon would quickly become extinct in the wild, and also unable to be farmed in captivity, as their food source is also dwindling. If this is a solution that keeps salmon on my plate, you have my vote.


ThatGuy said...

All of that genetic modification stuff scares me.

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