If I have to read another article about ‘Frankenfish’ or ‘Frankensalmon’, I might require psychiatric treatment. These articles evoke images of double-headed salmon and seven-finned abominations. Why all the fuss? In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon allow genetically modified (GM) salmon made by AquaBounty to be sold–unlabelled–on the US market. There are no plans yet to sell them in the UK, but the story was still covered extensively by the British media.
The villain is a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon that has a single copy of a growth hormone gene from the chinook salmon. This growth hormone is under the control of an antifreeze gene promoter that the scientists at AquaBounty have taken from the eel-like ocean pout. The promoter keeps growth hormone production switched on all year round instead of only in the warmer months. Thus, the salmon progresses from an egg to your plate in just 18 months instead of the normal 3 years. Read more »