Transgenic fish: an evaluation of benefits and risks


Transgenic fish have many potential applications in aquaculture, but also raise concerns regarding the possible deleterious effects of escaped or released transgenic fish on natural ecosystems. In this review the potential applications of transgenic fish are considered, the probable benefits reviewed, the possible risks to the environment identified and the measures which might be taken to minimize these risks are evaluated. Growth trials of transgenic fish have already been carried out in outdoor facilities and some of these are discussed in the light of possible risks and benefits. Regarding the hazards associated with release or escape, whilst there is some evidence to suggest that transgenic fish may be less fit compared to their wild counterparts, there is insufficient evidence to say that this will be true in all cases. Using mathematical models, we have attempted to predict the magnitude of the genetic effects in a range of different scenarios. A number of possible containment techniques are considered, amongst which containment by sterility is probably the most promising. This can be engineered either by triploidy or by transgenic methods. The conclusions include a tabulated balance sheet of likely benefits and risks, with appropriate weighting.


Fish and Fisheries (2001) 1 pp. 146-172 [DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-2979.2000.00014.x]

Transgenic fish: an evaluation of benefits and risks

Published 1 January 2001