“Frankenstein” fish – with added growth hormone genes

The background

In the US and Canada, authorities have given the go-ahead for food derived from genetically engineered salmon to be marketed. The fish have been engineered to grow at least twice as fast as regular salmon.

What is the problem?

  • The fish produce additional growth hormones and can inherit further unintended effects. There are no reliable methods to exclude any health risks associated with eating these kinds of genetically engineered fish.
  • The risk to the environment is substantial: If the genetically engineered salmon escape, they can spread into native populations and endanger ecosystems. 
  • Because the salmon grow faster, more can be produced per year. More intensive salmon farming will increase the burden on the regional environment – for example, water pollution.

Further information:

Aquabounty, the company which produces the salmon, is based in Canada and was bought by the US company, Intrexon. Intrexon shares are owned by investors who appear to be mostly interested in making a financial profit in near future. The founder of Intrexon is the investor Randal J. Kirk. The company has applied for patents covering genetically engineered mice, rats, cats, dogs, cattle, pigs, horses, sheep and chimpanzees as its invention. Intrexon also produces genetically engineered insects, [link], apples [link] and cloned bulls. Furthermore, Intrexon is working together with the FuturaGene Group to develop genetically engineered trees. One of the members of the management team is Robert B. Shapiro, a former chief executive at Monsanto. Aggressively introducing its genetically engineered organisms on to the markets is an integral part of company policy.

Publication year: 
2016