AquAdvantage salmon

AquAdvantage is a genetically modified (GM) salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies . A growth hormone -regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon , with a promoter from an ocean pout , was added to the Atlantic salmon’s 40,000 genes. This gene allows it to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer. The purpose of the modifications is to increase the speed at which the fish grows. The fish grows to market size in 16 to 18 months rather than three years. [1]The latter has been improved by 2: 1 as a result of traditional selective breeding . Conventional salmon growers publicly challenged the growth. [2]

Genetic modification

AquAdvantage salmon are triploid (having three sets of chromosomes, most animals have two sets ) female Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar ), with a single copy of the opAFP-GHc2 construct, which codes for a promoter sequence of ocean pout directing production of a growth hormone protein using coding sequence from Chinook salmon . [3] : vii, 8 This transgene allows the fish to achieve accelerated growth rates. [4]Induction of triploidy in nearly 99% of the salmon by treatment of the eggs of the most severe, reducing the risk of interbreeding with wild-type fish and further increasing growth by removing the stress of reproduction . [5]


AquAdvantage built a 100-ton / year aquaculture facility in landlocked highlands in Panama , a fraction of the 1.6 million ton / year [6] global output of farmed Atlantic salmon . The company promotes its product as a way to re-establish a domestic US salmon aquaculture industry in Chile and Norway. [7]


Main article: Aquaculture

Commercial aquaculture is the fastest growing segment of the agricultural industry, accounting for more than 60 million tones in 2012, versus 90 million tones of wild-caught fish. That year, aquaculture output exceeded beef output for the first time. While land-based agriculture is growing between 2% and 3% per year, aquaculture has been growing at an average rate of 9% per year since 1970. As of 2011, salmon aquaculture produced 1.9 million tons of fish. [8]


See also: Genetically modified fish (AquAdvantage salmon) , Genetically modified food controversies , and Genetically modified organism containment and escape

Aquaculture that uses conventionally bred salmon, mostly Atlantic salmon, cultivates the fish in net pens. In North America, this is mostly in coastal waters off Washington , British Columbia , and Maine . However, the application for FDA approval of AquAdvantage salmon specified land-based tank cultivation with no ocean involvement. [9]

Critics raised concerns about potential environmental impacts if these fish reaches rivers or oceans. GM salmon would outcompete wild-type salmon. [10] [11] [12] [13] However, William Muir, the researcher who developed the “Trojan gene” hypothesis frequently cited by critics of this salmon, has discounted this scenario, noting their “sin of omission” and describing it. as an “urban myth”. [14] His analysis indicates That “the data conclusively shows That There is no Trojan Gene effect as expected. The data in fact suggest que la transgene will be purged by natural selection. In other words the risk of harm here is low.” [ 14]

Whole Foods , Aldi ‘s Trader Joe’s , and other grocery stores throughout the United States have advertised that they would not offer AquAdvantage. [15]

Wild Atlantic salmon type ( Salmo salar )

Survival in new habitats

Fish can learn to feed on new hatchery environments. These adaptations could pose a risk if GM salmon were released in the wild. [16]

The ability of GM salmon to grow faster does not necessarily mean they are preferentially preyed upon, and this leads to increased survival. wave ] In a competition scenario, such a release of GM fish from a salmon farm in the wild, the GM salmon could initially outcompete wild-type salmon for food. citation needed ] This success would allow the GM salmon’s greater survival. [10] [16]

Rate of growth

AquAdvantage salmon has the potential to feed more efficiently than wild-type salmon. This leads to an accelerated growth rate during their first year after hatching. These fish have the ability to grow 11 times faster than wild-type salmon. This property allows you to migrate more quickly and more easily to reproduce in than two years (about 700 days). [17] [10] However, studies suggest this accelerated maturity of GM salmon does not provide a better reproduction over wild-type. [17]


Smoltification is the process of salmon adapting from freshwater to marine water. GM salmon can potentially achieve smolt size in only one year. This could allow AquAdvantage fish to reach the ocean quicker. The ability to reach the ocean could be improved with salmon. [11]


Fish are one of the eight food types that the FDA is required to treat with allergies. [3] : 97 As part of the regulatory process, the FDA requires data in the form of such allergens (such as parvalbumin ) in AquAdvantage. The FDA reviewed the data from the company, “The allergenic potency of triploid ABT salmon was not significantly different from that of sponsor control diploid salmon.” [3] : 104

Swimming capabilities

AquAdvantage salmon lack in swimming capabilities compared to wild-type salmon. [17] [11] [12] [18] AquAdvantage consumes more energy when swimming than wild-type salmon. This is most likely due to the type of muscle fibers. AquAdvantage fish’s muscle fibers have a smaller diameter than wild-type salmon. Because the force is larger, the smaller muscle size of AquAdvantage salmon produces less force than the wild-type. [18]

Reproductive competition

Under the current conditions, both precocial parr and anadromous GM male salmon lack reproductive success and reduced numbers of surviving offspring. GM salmon’s lack of fertilization can be attributed to nest fidelity, quivering frequency, and spawn participation. [11] Under the influence of wild salmon, while only 5.4% was attributed to GM salmon. [17] This advantage allows more than one to two types of production. [17] Other characteristics That Could wild deviation causes males to be more frequently Could Be Chosen the Lack of growth of the kype , the hooked jaw of a male, and red coloration is anadromous males, qui Demonstrates sexual maturity to females.

Using in vitro analysis, GM salmon has been significantly reduced and reduced to a lower sperm count and decreased sperm velocity, all of which decreased GM salmon’s fertilization success. [17]


AquaBounty addresses these concerns by breeding reproductively unable females. Most escapees can not reproduce with 98.9% of them triploid ; batches with more than 5% diploid individuals will be destroyed. [5] [19] Aquadvantage fishes and fish farms, [1] and has proposed that AquAdvantage fish only be raised in land-based facilities. [20]

Government regulation

United States

In September 2010, an FDA advisory panel noted that fish is “highly unlikely to have any significant impact on the environment” and that it is “as safe as it is”. [3 ] Kathleen Jones of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine said:

In conclusion, all of the above are the conclusions that AquAdvantage salmon is Atlantic salmon, and food of AquAdvantage salmon is as safe as other Atlantic salmon. [22]

In October 2010, 39 lawmakers asked the FDA to reject the application. Other groups requested that the fish carry a label identifying its transgenic origin. [21] Concerns included alleged sterilization and isolation, and excessive antibiotic use. [23] In 2012, the major shareholder of AquaBounty Technologies said that it would be granted approval for the AquAdvantage salmon in a US election year. [24]

On 25 December 2012, the FDA published a draft environmental assessment for AquAdvantage salmon. [4] The FDA also published a preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact . [25] A 60-day period for the public commented on the Aquadvantage salmon again, which was arbitrarily extended until May 2013. [26] [27] As of May 2013, the public comment period and the FDA was then scheduled to finalize its assessment. [15]

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty Technologies ‘ application to sell the AquAdvantage salmon to US consumers on November 19, 2015., [28] However, a rider to a spending bill signed into law on December 18, 2015 by President Obama FDA mandates labels for the genetically modified product. [29] [30] The decision marks the first time of a genetically modified animal to the United States food supply. The decision came after the FDA, and after they had raised ten generations of the animals.[23] The announcement released by the FDA states: “AquAdvantage salmon is as safe to eat as any non-genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon, and also as nutritious.” [31] [32] One month later, language was introduced into a federal budget billing consumer reporting that the fish is genetically modified. [33]


On November 25, 2013, Environment Canada approved the product for sale in Canada. [34]

In May 2016, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved the sale of GM fish. [35] In July 2017, AquaBounty Technologies said they had sold 4.5 tons of AquaAdvantage salmon fillets to customers in Canada. [36] [37]


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Blumenthal 2010
  2. Jump up^ Salmobreed 2011.
  3. ^ Jump up to:d FDA 2010 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b FDA & December 2012 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Anastasia Bodnar (October 2010). “Risk Assessment and Mitigation of AquAdvantage Salmon” (PDF) . ISB News Report.
  6. Jump up^ “Learn More About Farmed Salmon and the Salmon Farming Industry” . August 9, 2013.
  7. Jump up^ “FDA Considers Genetically Engineered Salmon” . September 21st, 2010.
  8. Jump up^ FAO 2012, p. 21.
  9. Jump up^ von Mogel Karl Haro (24 April 2013). “Interview with Ron Stotish at BIO”.
  10. ^ Jump up to:c Sundström & Devlin 2010 , pp. 447-460.
  11. ^ Jump up to:d Moreau, Conway & Fleming 2011 , pp. 736-748.
  12. ^ Jump up to:b Hu Zhu & 2010 , pp. 401-408.
  13. Jump up^ Ahrens & Devlin 2010, pp. 583-597.
  14. ^ Jump up to:Zajac b , Andy (November 26, 2010). “Foes of GE salmon raise specter of ‘Trojan gene’ effect” . Los Angeles Times .
  15. ^ Jump up to:a Ledford 2013 b .
  16. ^ Jump up to:b Sundström et al. 2009 , pp. 762-769.
  17. ^ Jump up to:f Fitzpatrick et al. 2011 , pp. 185-191.
  18. ^ Jump up to:b et al. 2003 , pp. 753-766.
  19. Jump up^ Ron 2010
  20. Jump up^ “Is Genetically Modified Salmon Safe?” . Discovery News. February 11, 2013 . Retrieved 2013-05-08 .
  21. ^ Jump up to:b Mundy & Tomson 2010
  22. Jump up^ Carollo 2010
  23. ^ Jump up to:b Naik in 2010 .
  24. Jump up^ Pollack 2012.
  25. Jump up^ FDA & May 2012.
  26. Jump up^ Federal Register 2012.
  27. Jump up^ Reardon 2012.
  29. Jump up^ Dennis, Brady (29 January 2016). “FDA imports of genetically engineered salmon – for now” . Washington Post . Retrieved 9 April 2016 .
  30. Jump up^ FDA. FDA Import Alert 99-40 “GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) SALMON”(01/29/2016).
  31. Jump up^ FDA . “FDA Has Determined That the AquAdvantage Salmon is Safe to Eat as Non-GE Salmon” . Retrieved 19 November 2015 .
  32. Jump up^ Steenhuysen, Julie; Polansek, Tom (19 November 2015). “US clears genetically modified salmon for human consumption” . Reuters . Retrieved 9 April 2016 .
  33. Jump up^ Dennis, Brady (17 December 2015). “FDA must develop plan to genetically engineered salmon label, Congress says” . The Washington Post . The Washington Post . Retrieved 6 April 2016 .
  34. Jump up^ “AQUABOUNTY CLEARED TO PRODUCE EGGS SALMON IN CANADA FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES” (PDF) . Archived from the original(PDF) on April 12, 2014.
  35. Jump up^ “Canada Approves Sale of Genetically Modified Salmon” .
  36. Jump up^ Coghlan, Andy (2017-08-08). “Genetically engineered salmon goes on sale for the first time” . New Scientist . Retrieved 2017-08-08 .
  37. Jump up^ Waltz, Nature, Emily. “First Genetically Engineered Salmon Sold in Canada” . Scientific American . Retrieved 2017-08-08 .


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  • Blumenthal, Les (August 2, 2010). “Company says FDA is nearing decision on genetically engineered Atlantic salmon” . The Washington Post . Retrieved 2 August 2010 .
  • Carollo, Kim (September 20, 2010). “Surprise: FDA Panel Unable to Reach Conclusion on Genetically Modified Public Hearing Hearing Concludes, No Vote or Recommendation by FDA” . ABC News . Retrieved 1 October 2010 .
  • Doward, Jamie (September 26, 2010). “GM food battle moves to fish as super-salmon nears US approval” . The Guardian . Retrieved 1 October 2010 .
  • Fitzpatrick, John L .; Akbarashandiz, Hamid; Sakhrani, Dionne; Biagi, Carlo A .; Pitcher, Trevor E .; Devlin, Robert H. (2011). “Cultured growth hormone transgenic salmon are reproductively out-competed by wild-reared salmon in semi-natural mating arenas” . Aquaculture . 312 (1-4): 185-91. doi : 10.1016 / j.aquaculture.2010.11.044 .
  • Hedlund, Steven (May 25, 2012). “Measure requiring GM salmon study rejected” . Seafood Source . Retrieved 3 October 2012 .
  • Ledford, Heidi (2013). “Transgenic salmon nears approval”. Nature . 497 (7447): 17-8. doi : 10.1038 / 497017a . PMID  23636372 .
  • Lee, CG; Devlin, RH; Farrell, AP (2003). “Swimming performance, oxygen consumption and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption in adult transgenic and ocean-ranched coho salmon”. Journal of Fish Biology . 62 (4): 753-66. doi : 10.1046 / j.1095-8649.2003.00057.x .
  • Moreau, Darek TR; Conway, Corinne; Fleming, Ian A. (2011). Reproductive performance of alternative male phenotypes of growth hormone transgenic Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar ) . Evolutionary Applications . 4 (6): 736-48. doi : 10.1111 / j.1752-4571.2011.00196.x . PMC  3352541  . PMID  25568019 .
  • Mundy, Alicia; Tomson, Bill (1 October 2010). “Industry Fights Altered Salmon”. The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 5 November 2016 .
  • Naik, Gautam (September 21, 2010). “Gene-Altered Fish Closer to Approval” . The Wall Street Journal .
  • Pollack, Andrew (21 May 2012). “An Entrepreneur Bankrolls a Genetically Engineered Salmon” . The New York Times . Retrieved 3 October 2012 .
  • Reardon, Sarah (28 December 2012). “Approval for gene-modified salmon spawns controversy” . New Scientist . Retrieved 2 January 2013 .
  • Ron, Benny (November 23, 2010). “Genetically Engineered Salmon Eggs Designed to Grow on Land” . Archived from the original on 26 December 2010.
  • Sundström, L. Fredrik; Devlin, Robert H. (2010). “Increased intrinsic growth rate is advantageous under ecologically stressful conditions in salmon coho ( Oncorhynchus kisutch )”. Evolutionary Ecology . 25 (2): 447-60. doi : 10.1007 / s10682-010-9406-1 .
  • Sundström, L. Fredrik; Tymchuk, Wendy E .; Lhmus, Mare; Devlin, Robert H. (2009). “Sustained predation of hatchery-reared transgenic salmon coho Oncorhynchus kisutch in semi-natural environments”. Journal of Applied Ecology46 (4): 762-9. doi : 10.1111 / j.1365-2664.2009.01668.x .
  • Hu, Wei; Zhu, Zuoyan (2010). “Integration mechanisms of transgenes and population fitness of GH transgenic fish”. Science China Life Sciences . 53 (4): 401-8. doi : 10.1007 / s11427-010-0088-2 . PMID  20596905 .
  • “Briefing Packet: AquAdvantage Salmon” (PDF) . Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine. September 20, 2010.
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