Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Genetically Engineered Salmon

New genetically engineered salmon grows two times as fast as its traditional counterpart

Some people can be freaked out on the idea of genetically modified food. But keep in mind that we have been genetically modifying plants & animals for agricultural & livestock purposes for thousands of years via selective breeding and similar techniques. Which means that major portion of the food items that we consume in our everyday lives has seen genetic mutation in one way or another. So now, you may find a fish whose DNA has been altered swimming into your grocery store.
"AquAdvantage" is a new type of transgenic(genetically modified) Atlantic Salmon who's genetic structure has been altered by introducing a growth genes from two other fish; the Chinook salmon & Ocean pout(an eel-like creature). This project has been managed by a bioengineering company named AquaBounty Technologies. The company says that the new product will be cheaper & plentiful than the unaltered fish.
The transgenic salmon grows twice as quickly as old one which takes up to 5 years to fully mature. The reason is that their DNA is joined with the genes of fish that mature all year long, unlike only in warmer seasons. Here’s a graph that compares the growth rates:

The news of this ”super salmon” just like all revolutionary things is also facing controversies and suspicions in many communities. Critics have dubbed it “Frankenfish” & are questioning if its safe for humans to consume. However, even after a lots of testing, the FDA(US Food and Drug Administration) has not found any objectionable health threat, so the suspicions may be unfounded.

Watch this news story covering the debate:

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