AquAdvantage® Salmon

By: Gurleen Singh

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) :
AquAdvantage Salmon

Questions

How is the organism genetically modified?

AquAdvantage Salmon are Atlantic salmon engineered to contain genes from an unrelated Pacific salmon and an Arctic eelpout. These modifications cause the GE salmon to produce growth hormone year-round, allegedly creating a fish that grows at twice the normal rate of a typical Atlantic salmon.

What is the purpose for the creation of the organism?

To avoid transgenic pollution and maintain control over fish populations, AquaBounty states that it will only produce sterile females. However, fish are known to change sex, particularly under stress, and there is no guaranteed method to produce 100% sterility.

What are the advantages of the organism to society and the environment?

Key benefits of AquAdvantage Salmon:

  • Reduced pressure on wild fish stocks: By providing a ready source of faster‐growing fish, salmon grown from AquAdvantage eggs can help reduce pressure on wild fish stocks suffering from over-fishing.
  • Job creation: Aquaculture provides opportunities for U.S. jobs by potentially contributing to a newly re‐invigorated domestic industry, as opposed to importing salmon from other parts of the world
  • Economic benefits: Faster growth means a more efficient use of capital, reduced feed costs and less time to market
  • Lower carbon footprint: AquAdvantage salmon are grown in on shore facilities that can be built close to consumer markets – where as fresh and frozen fish require energy intensive transportation.

What are the risks of the organism to society and the environment?

Firstly, the genetically-modified AquAdvantage salmon has the potential to devastate marine ecosystems if ever released accidentally into the wild. The modified population could enter wild populations through reproduction between species or introduction of viable eggs, either of which would impact the natural ecosystem. AquaBounty claims to have methods prepared to prevent such interactions, including the sterility of eggs sold to fish farmers, the triploid, mostly female fish population and in-land facilities