- BLENHEIM, New Zealand (http://www.nandotimes.com)
- A New Zealand company has agreed to kill all its genetically engineered
fish to end a controversy involving leaked secret documents, deformed fish
heads and gargantuan salmon.
- More than a year after New Zealand King Salmon Co. Ltd.
was first accused of breeding mutant chinook salmon in the so-called "Franken-fish"
experiment, the company announced Friday it would bury the remains of the
specially grown fish and suspend its research.
- King Salmon's chief executive Paul Steere said the company
made the decision after it had successfully introduced an additional growth
hormone gene into chinook salmon and passed the trait down three generations.
- He denied the decision to suspend the project was influenced
by political, ethical or scientific resistance.
- Opponents of the project have fought for more than a
year to stop it after leaked secret papers showed deformed heads and other
abnormalities had occurred during the breeding program.
- After receiving the new growth hormone gene, the salmon
grew three times faster than the normal rate. According to the company,
the genetically modified salmon could grow up to 550 pounds. Chinook, or
Pacific king, the largest species of salmon, grow to 110 pounds in the
- King Salmon has admitted some of the first-generation
fish had developed lumps on their heads due to apparent genetic deformities.
- "All modified salmon have been killed and disposed
of, in accordance with (scientific) containment protocols," Steere
said in a statement.
- The company said it would retain frozen sperm from genetically
engineered salmon "at a secure location" so it was available
to continue the program in the future.
- The company's experimental work was halted as the government
prepared to establish an inquiry into the project and its controls to prevent
live salmon or fertile eggs escaping into the wild.
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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