Researchers develop sexless GM salmon
RESEARCHERS in Norway have developed a genetically modified salmon which they believe could help the industry.
Described as a ‘gender free or sexless salmon’, the research team at the Biotechnology Council in Bergen says it should eventually be able to prevent some of the problems facing aquaculture.
The council says more work needs to be done, but it should be allowed to continue with its research. According to the newspaper Bergen Tidende, the salmon are all ‘hens’ but taste as good as ordinary farmed salmon.
Geneticist Anna Wargelius at the Institute of Marine Research says they cannot spawn with wild salmon if they escape.
Wargelius and her team believe the sterile salmon can overcome the problem of farmed salmon on the run. They can also be more disease resistant and contain higher levels of omega-3, she claimed.
Last year around 185,000 salmon and rainbow trout escaped from Norwegian fish farms. Critics of salmon farming say one of the major problems is that the salmon then spread diseases and at spawning can cause genetic changes transmitted to wild salmon.
But the research team says this does not happen with genetically modi- fied salmon. However, under Norwegian law, carrying out work on genetically modified salmon must have special approval.
Ole Johan Borge, director at the Biotechnology Council, told the paper they are discussing whether all forms of ge- netic modification should be covered by a Gene Technology Act.
Until now, a fairly large proportion of Norwegian consumers have been sceptical of genetically modified products.
Any genetically modified organism must be weighed against the consequences for health, safety, sustainability, social benefit and ethics, he added.
Tastes good Above: