Super aggressive mutant animals dominating the wild is not science fiction anymore.
Canadian scientists have determined that if genetically modified salmon get into the wild, they will breed with wild fish and pass on their modified genes. The study also showed that the mutant offspring proved to be more aggressive than both the GM salmon and the wild fish.
The study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society is the first of its kind to demonstrate environmental impacts of hybridization between a GM animal and a closely related species.
The study determined:
Through experimental crosses, we demonstrate transmission of a growth hormone transgene via hybridization between a candidate for commercial aquaculture production, GM Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and closely related wild brown trout (Salmo trutta).
What’s most interesting about this study is that the GM hybrids outperformed the original GM salmon as well as the wild trout.
Transgenic hybrids were viable and grew more rapidly than transgenic salmon and other non-transgenic crosses in hatchery-like conditions. In stream mesocosms designed to more closely emulate natural conditions, transgenic hybrids appeared to express competitive dominance and suppressed the growth of transgenic and non-transgenic (wild-type) salmon by 82 and 54 per cent, respectively.
Dr Darek Moreau, from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, who conducted the study told the BBC : “[Under hatchery conditions] the transgenic hybrids grew faster than the wild salmon, wild trout and wild-type hybrids. The GM hybrids also outgrew the GM salmon.”
The mutant hybrids turned out to be more aggressive feeders than the GM salmon and wild trout leading the researcher Dr. Moreau to determine the growth rate “was likely a result of competition for limited food resources.”
Genetically modified salmon would be the first transgenic animal to be allowed for human consumption, which is in the final stages of FDA approval. But many fear exactly what this study shows, that the engineered gene will mutate into nature.
Yet, AquaBounty, who filed for FDA approval of GM salmon, says there is no way this could happen because their fish are not only engineered to grow abnormally fast but also to be sterile.”
AquaBounty has stipulated that we will market only sterile, all female AquAdvantage salmon,” said CEO Ron Stotish.
Didn’t the genetic scientists in the fictional Jurassic Park movies say the same thing?
The bigger concern for opponents of GM salmon is that once the door is opened for genetically modified livestock, more mutant species will land on the dinner plates without studies as to how they may affect human health.
If we are what we eat, what will eating sterile fish and crops from sterile “terminator” seeds do to human reproduction?
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