The Frankenfish

By Jim Goza, CCNN Guest Writer

You may have heard in your science class that genes can affect the way we look, but I bet you didn’t know that humans actually have fewer genes than a grape! This means that it’s not about how many genes we have, but which ones, and how they are arranged that matters. In fact, scientists already know how to re-arrange the genes in many foods like corn and tomatoes to make them resist diseases, and we eat those genetically engineered foods without thinking twice.

Recently, scientists figured out that they can take some of the genes from an “Ocean pout”, whose ugly face is pictured there on the right, and put them into a salmon like the little guy in the picture below. Then, they can create a really BIG salmon like the silvery one in the back!

A genetically engineered salmon grows twice as fast as a natural salmon and also eats less food! Some scientists hope that this new fish species will provide more food for the global market. Others, however, fear that the genetically altered fish will mix in with the regular ones and eventually eliminate the native fish altogether!

Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making the final decision regarding the production, marketing, and labeling of this new species. One thing is certain; this new fish will be controversial. In fact, over 1.5 million people submitted written concerns to the FDA over the genetically altered salmon. What do you think? Would you want to eat one?

Featured image courtesy of AquaBounty Technology