While artificial muscle enhancement in humans is often frowned upon, a University of Rhode Island scientist’s “juiced up” fish could provide a boost to the aquaculture industry.
Terry Bradley, a professor of fisheries and aquaculture, has spent the last 10 years developing transgenic rainbow trout. The results, he said, even surprised him: super-strong fish that exhibit “six-pack abs” and an overall a highly muscular appearance. The trout, he said, have demonstrated a 15-20 percent increase in muscle mass compared to unenhanced fish.
Bradley achieved these results by inhibiting myostatin, a protein that reduces muscle growth. He and a team of graduate students spent approximately 500 hours injecting 20,000 rainbow trout eggs with DNA strands that curtailed myostatin levels. Of the eggs that hatched, 300 carried the gene that caused improved muscle growth. The fish have increased musculature along their whole body, including a large dorsal hump that gives the illusion they have muscular shoulders.
Bradley said the fish “seem to be happy fish,” too, noting that they grow, behave, and feed normally. If the fish meet with regulatory approval, they could enable aquaculturists to grow larger fish without increasing the amount of food they’re fed, creating a large potential boom for aquaculture industry and potentially leading to a greater availability of seafood at lower costs.
URI scientist’s development of more muscular trout could boost commercial aquaculture [The University of Rhode Island]