Biotechnology / Fish / Food Safety

Fish tales

Genetically modified fish could soon be on the table

The Belgian blue is an ugly but tasty cow that has 40% more muscle than it should have. It is the product of random mutation followed by selective breeding—as, indeed, are all domesticated creatures. But where an old art has led, a new one may follow. By understanding which genetic changes have been consolidated in the Belgian blue, it may be possible to design and build similar versions of other species using genetic engineering as a short-cut. And that is precisely what Terry Bradley, a fish biologist at the University of Rhode Island, is trying to do. Instead of cattle, he is doing it in trout. His is one of two projects that may soon put the first biotech animals on the dinner table.

Belgian blues are so big because their genes for a protein called myostatin do not work properly. Myostatin is a hormone that regulates muscle growth. Disable its action and muscles will grow in parts of the anatomy where other animals do not even have them.

Read more (The Economist)

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