1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Franken-salmon?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Sep 21, 2010.

    Just saw a story on CNN about the debate over approval of a genetically-modified salmon. Looking at the details, it seems like much ado about nothing. What do you guys think - a natural progression for food in an increasingly populated planet, or humans toying with things they don't understand? Or both?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Scientists should not stop until they develop a salmon that can walk out of the water, smoke itself, skin and fillet itself, and lie itself down on my Triscuits. If it can also open a beer for me, so much the better.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It'll probably have to get the beer BEFORE it fillets itself.

    It will also have to be trained, when retrieving the beer, to recognize and distinguish such greats as Bass Ale, Samuel Adams, MacEwans, etc. from Coors Light.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My only real issue is the fact that genetically modified/crafted DNA has shown itself remarkably able to leak out of the modified population and into the wild. The mechanisms for how this happens are not completely understood, but one method is via plasmids. That part of the equation does give me pause.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    But these are naturally-occurring genes that are already in the wild, I think. Just being moved from one type of salmon and some other fish into this particular target salmon. So I'm less concerned about that than I would be about a gene that doesn't occur in nature.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Coors Light is not beer. It is sold in the beer aisle at the market because of evil Coors marketing personnel.
     
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  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If that's the case then the topic would not get my personal ruff up. If you think about it, breeding programs are also genetic modification, just on a slower and rather more painstaking scale. We don't get freaked out about the fact that a dairy cow is nothing like its original ancestor stock. What's the difference?
     
  8. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    "Anything genetically modified, that "walks out of the water and smokes", you DO NOT -give a fillet knife to!!.

    If so: It's You who'll be Triscuitized!!--And put that beer down, You're cut off!.
     
  9. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    Genetically modified corn, strawberries, and tomatos (or maybe cherry tomatos as I cant quite recall; perhaps both) are already on the market nationwide. I'm sure there are other crops as well. Seeing as people are generally meat-eaters anyway and have no qualms about how the animals are killed currently, there really shouldnt be an issue as to whether they are improved or made more plentiful.

    I assume that the process in making bigger and meatier and faster-growing salmon is a much different and possibly more complex than working with fruits and vegetables, of course, but assuming that the drug used is safe or that the manipulated DNA of the salmon has no long-term effects, why would anyone have a problem with eating a genetically altered fish? Genetically altered crops still have the same nutritional content and taste; the only difference is that the company can make more salmon and more money faster.

    How is there possibly an argument here? People are probably bitching about whether its safe to eat because it's a slow news day, but if you trust the FDA (I'm not necessarily saying you should) with every other food product, drink, and drug you put into your mouth, why not trust them to come to the right conclusion with the salmon?

    Bioagriculture is so awesome.

    Biotechnology rocks, dude. :cool:
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In some cases, there may be reason for concern. Genes are expressed as proteins in the organism. Proteins can cause allergic reactions. Other gene expression may impact hormone levels in an organism. If you're dealing with genes that come from an organism that isn't typically consumed by humans and putting it into a food animal, then I think there is good reason to proceed with caution.

    In this case, though, from what I read they're putting in genes from two other fish that are already eaten by humans. So it seems much less likely that those gene products are going to lead to something harmful to people.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To return for a moment to the idea of the genetic information making its way back out to the wild...

    The resultant fish may itself not be harmful/poisonous to humans, but, just as a thought, what if the escaped genetic materiel is harmful to the wild population itself. Fish like salmon are already shockingly reduced from their original wild numbers. American waterways are already suffering many difficulties from introduced species, pollution, blocked spawning sites, etc. What if the genetic modification made the wild salmon less likely to spawn or to successfully spawn.

    Again, just food for thought. Or maybe even thought for food. ;)
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It is something to consider.

    They claim to have generated fish who cannot breed, so that the gene can't be bred into the wild-type population. I'm not sure what method they used to sterilize the fish, though. Nature will sometimes cause reversion of human genetic modifications:

    Human scientist: Voila! We've rendered the fish sterile. Now the wild fish are safe!

    Nature: Oh yeah? We'll just have those modified reproductive genes revert back to their previous states. That'll show you bleedin' human. Why ever let you out of the trees in the first place, I'll never know...

    I suppose there is potential for other ways of spreading the genes. You mention plasmids, but outside of purposeful human intervention that's pretty much limited to bacteria. You could have a virus spread the modified genes, I suppose, but what are the odds that a virus puts itself in just the right place in the host that the new virus particles pick up the modified genes, and then infects the wild fish in just the right spot so as to incorporate the new genes correctly into the wild fish so they're expressed?

    I suppose stranger things have happened though.
     

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