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Big Salmon Fishes at Your Table

BY: Geetanjali Murari | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2013-06-03 23:28:02
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Article Summary: "The genetic engineering has paved new ways to modify and alter the features of different organisms. The insertion of a particular gene of interest in the organism can make it function in a completely different way. The increasing demand of Salmon has provoked the scientists to produce GMO to enhance their production in the marke.."

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The technology of producing genetically modified organism has become quite popular. The modification in the characteristics of several plants and animals to meet our requirement is being widely used these days. We have seen GM crops, plants manufactured to increase its production and make it disease, stress, tolerance, and temperature resistant. Similarly, The Salmon fishes are cultured and modified genetically to increase their size and growth compared to their wild type counterparts. The scientists are trying their best to introduce the growth hormone gene construct in these fishes to modify their sizes. The fishes are the staple diet of a larger population. To meet the requirement of increasing human population across the globe, this source of food has to be enhanced.

The growth hormone genes are normally expressed in the pituitary gland under the control of the central nervous system (CNS). The tissue specific elements of the gene are modified to eliminate the control of CNS, so that the expression of the gene can take place somewhere else. A gene which would enlarge their size and growth could solve our problem. The gene of interest should be introduced in their germline so that they could produce the similar variety even while breeding with wild type. This would result in the rising production and shoot the fish market immensely. The transgenic fishes are made resistant to temperature, disease, tolerance, etc. The development of GM fishes would boost the market and aquaculture farming. The enhanced growth rate and reduced shelf-life (time required for their upbringing) would commercially benefit all the sea-food lovers across the globe.

The offspring (hybrids) produced from transgenic salmon are viable and grow more rapidly than transgenic salmon and other non-transgenic crosses. The mesocosms are designed to incubate these transgenic hybrids in a closed emulate natural conditions. These hybrids alarmingly appear to express competitive dominance and suppress the growth of transgenic and unmodified (wild-type) salmon by 82 and 54 per cent, respectively. Through experimental crosses, we represent transmission of a growth hormone transgene via hybridization between candidates for commercial aquaculture production.

Aquaculture and fish farming has become quite common now-a-days. The scientists are looking for new techniques to increase the survival ratio, production ration of these fishes. The modified fishes grow abruptly as compared to their unmodified counterpart. Though, there are many ethical issues related with these GMOs, US FDA is currently assessing the authenticity of these fishes before approving them for human consumption. These GM fishes can mate with other fishes in the environment producing hybrid offspring. But the outcome could be life threatening and fatal.

Around the world, the scientists are concerned about the balance and maintenance of our ecosystem. These unnatural large sizes fishes could create disturbance in the ecology. Any kind of temporary or permanent change in the lifestyle of any organism is considered to be unethical. The technology is beneficial for us, but who is paying the bigger price for this? The genetic or morphological change in the animal is completely unacceptable. The creation or modification of living organism for our own usage is an inhumane act. It is immoral to make the organisms suffer for their for the sake of our satisfaction. The suffering may last for a long duration or might affect their coming generations as well.

But inspite of many debates and heated discussions about the ethical issues behind this technique, many GM animals has been approved. Many ornamental fishes in our aquarium are the example of transgenic organisms. The glowing fish, fluorescent zebrafish is one of its types approved by FDA for sale.
Many science fiction movies have been made on the making of genetically modified organisms and the climax of all these movies are breathtaking. So the possibility to save our environment and ecology from the epidemic is still a mystery.

If the GM salmon gets the green signal from US FDA, it would be soon launched into the market and would be in the course of our brunch.

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Geetanjali Murari
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