What Would A GM Salmon/Wild Trout Hybrid Taste Like?
New research reveals that the salmon can pass modified genes to its hybrid offspring. That offspring happened to grow faster than both its purebred cousins, but the company behind the GM creation says the ecological risk is low.
A paper published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B revealed that, just like its unmodified cousin, the genetically modified (GM) Atlantic salmon — the very kind that is currently being evaluated for consumer consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration — is capable of breeding with a closely-related fish, the wild brown trout, and passing on its modified genes to the resulting offspring. Researchers from Newfoundland’s Memorial University found that 40 percent of the offspring carried the modified genes, and that under hatchery conditions, they grew faster than the GM salmon, the trout, and unmodified salmon.
What’s the Big Idea?
Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, which is responsible for creating the transgenic “AquAdvantage” salmon, says in response, “AquaBounty has stipulated that we will market only sterile, all female AquAdvantage salmon – with specific tests being performed on every commercial batch of fish to assure our product meets our specifications.” In their paper, the researchers mentioned that the likelihood of these fish escaping into the wild was low, but they also warned of the ecological risks should that happen.