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IPFS News Link • Food

The Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered "Frankenfish"

To create the fish, AquaBounty begins with eggs of GE Atlantic salmon females and fertilizes them with irradiated sperm of another similar fish species, Arctic char. The eggs are then pressure-treated, causing them to produce diploid offspring (i.e. fish with two complete sets of chromosomes), with both sets of chromosomes originating from the GE female salmon. The all-female GE diploid salmon will then be treated with 17-methyltestosterone, a hormone that turns the fish into what AquaBounty calls "neomales" -- genetically female fish that produce milt (sperm) instead of eggs. The milt from the GE neomales will fertilize the eggs of non-GE Atlantic salmon, and the resulting fertilized eggs will be treated with pressure to produce the final product, a line of all-female triploid GE Atlantic salmon. According to AquaBounty's plans, the GE salmon will begin their lives at a hatchery in Prince Edward Island, Canada and then transfer to a grow-out facility in Panama. Unlike most salmon, which begin their lives in freshwater before transferring to saltwater, the GE salmon will live their entire lives in freshwater. The good news is that currently there are no plans to raise the GE salmon in open net pens in the ocean, a method of salmon farming that has resulted in massive damage to wild salmon populations as well as frequent escapes of farmed salmon into the ocean.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Not Comprehending
Entered on:

I don't understand how the picture you used relates to the genetic modification of fish. I understand the "franken-organism" relevance, however a picture of a stitched together human hardly relates to genetic modification. Mary Shelley's story had to do with the creation of a creature from spare parts scavenged from corpses, not genetic modification of a living human to generate some amount of benefit. The picture is creepy and evokes a sense of fear or disgust in one, perhaps, but that's hardly a good reason to use it. I would've much preferred to see a picture of one of the antagonists in the movie "Frankenfish" over this poor girl. I imagine she would, too.

Comment by Brock
Entered on:

Science is creepy now?

On which altar do I have to sacrifice the chicken to cleanse my spirit of this knowledge?