Re­searchers de­velop sex­less GM salmon

Fish Farmer - - News -

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:

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