A few comments on transgenic fish:
Some of the opposition of public groups in Europe and in the U.S. to transgenic food, transgenic fish, transgenic animals in general, and transgenic plants is based on the idea that the genetic engineering technology presents in itself a high risk to nature. This is based on a na´ve approach and creationist ideologies with very little scientific basis. On the other hand, approaches suggested by Muir [30 August] on the possible risk of transgenic fish is scientifically based and therefore open for discussion of its validity, merits and application.
Carps were domesticated thousands of years ago and now they represent roughly 90% of aquaculture output of the world finfish each year. In Israel, carps represent about 60% of the aquaculture output. Carps were imported to Israel from Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia and the commercial superior line (Dor 70) was selected by conventional breeding by R. Moav and G. Wollfart. There is no "native" population of carp in Israel's lakes or (polluted) waterways. Even if we take seriously and apply Muir's theoretical analysis and Medaka data, I see no reason why Growth Hormone transgenic carp that we have developed (that show 20% growth advantage over the commercial superior strain) could not be grown in Israel and used widely by the public as a source of "health food".
Once transgenic fish will be produced on a large scale, we will be able to collect the missing vital data about their fitness parameters, and feed them into Muir's theoretical calculations.
At the present situation I fully agree with Halos [31 August] that opposition to the use of transgenic fish (that differ from its parental strain in one gene only- and it is definitely not a "Megamutation") is unfounded, and prohibit breeders from attempts to develop new and improved breeds.
Boaz Moav Ph.D
Dept of Zoology
Ramat-Aviv, Tel-Aviv, Israel 69978
Tel: 972-3-6409817, Fax: 972-3-6409403
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