Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetically modified Atlantic salmon mating study reveals danger of escape to wild gene pool

Date:
July 14, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
If genetically modified Atlantic salmon were to escape from captivity they could succeed in breeding and passing their genes into the wild, researchers have found. Their research explores the potential reproductive implications of GM salmon as they are considered for commercial farming.

If genetically modified Atlantic salmon were to escape from captivity they could succeed in breeding and passing their genes into the wild, Canadian researchers have found. Their research, published in Evolutionary Applications, explores the potential reproductive implications of GM salmon as they are considered for commercial farming.

"The use of growth-enhancing transgenic technologies has long been of interest to the aquaculture industry and now genetically modified Atlantic salmon is one of the first species to be considered for commercial farming. Yet, little is known about the potential impact on wild salmon populations if the GM species were to escape captivity," said lead author Darek Moreau from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

One of the key concerns about a transgene escape is the "Trojan gene effect," caused when a GM fish outcompetes or reproduces equally against wild rivals, however if the resulting offspring are genetically inferior this could lead a species towards eventual extinction. Until now there is no empirical research to demonstrate the ability of transgenic Atlantic salmon to breed naturally and infiltrate the wild gene pool.

In the wild, reproducing males present two main forms of rivals which any escaping transgenic male would have to compete with; large males which have migrated and returned from the sea and smaller male parr which have matured in freshwater. The large males are aggressive and develop attributes to fight off their rivals, while the smaller male parr use cryptic colouring and 'sneak fertilisation' to compete.

To measure the ability of transgenic males to complete with wild males during the reproductive season the team monitored breeding behaviour in a naturalised laboratory setting and used genetic analysis to determine the success of competing individuals at producing offspring.

Large, migratory wild males outperformed their captivity-reared transgenic counterparts in terms of a variety of spawning behaviours. Moreover, despite being less aggressive, non-transgenic male parr were also able to outperform their GM rivals in terms of spawning behaviour, and as a result, achieved higher overall fertilisation success.

"While the transgenic males displayed reduced breeding performance relative to their non-transgenic rivals they still demonstrated the ability to successfully participate in natural spawning events and thus have the potential to contribute modified genes to wild populations," said Moreau. While the study provides an estimate of breeding performance under only a single set of physical and demographic environmental conditions, it does mimic a likely invasion scenario where the genetic background of the transgenic population differs from that of the wild population.

"Our study provides the first empirical observations on the natural reproductive capacities of growth hormone transgenic Atlantic salmon," concluded Moreau. "While the resulting ecological and genetic effects of a transgene escape remain uncertain, these data highlight the importance of preventing reproductively-viable GM salmon from entering natural systems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Darek T. R. Moreau, Corinne Conway, Ian A. Fleming. Reproductive performance of alternative male phenotypes of growth hormone transgenic Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Evolutionary Applications, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2011.00196.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Genetically modified Atlantic salmon mating study reveals danger of escape to wild gene pool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713102023.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, July 14). Genetically modified Atlantic salmon mating study reveals danger of escape to wild gene pool. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713102023.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Genetically modified Atlantic salmon mating study reveals danger of escape to wild gene pool." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713102023.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins