On the outskirts of Albany, a town in the U.S. state of Indiana, a pair of nondescript, factory-sized white buildings are located. It is here that biotechnology firm AquaBounty Technologies is producing genetically modified (GM) salmon, scheduled to hit the U.S. market next year. The company hopes that the fish will become the first genetically engineered animal to be produced and consumed in the U.S.
The genetically modified salmon grow quickly – reaching market size in half the time as conventional salmon. Gene manipulation allows the salmon to grow year round, instead of just in spring and summer. The process was first developed by Canadian researchers thirty years ago. Silvia Wulf, chief executive and president of AquaBounty Technologies explained that the process involved taking a gene from a Chinook salmon and injected it into an Atlantic salmon.
But, one area of concern is containment. Some worry about what would happen if the fish were to escape into nearby rivers and streams, potentially becoming an invasive species.