Farm hopes to cash in on giant salmon

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The Independent Online
Genetically altered salmon which grow 10 times faster than normal are being created by scientists in Scotland, it was reported yesterday. The scientists are injecting 10,000 salmon eggs at a hatchery on Loch Fyne with genes from another fish to accelerate their growth.

The Scottish fish-farming industry hopes the salmon will become money- spinning giants, according to a report in New Scientist magazine.

Conservationists fear that if the fish escape, they could endanger wild salmon in the North Atlantic.

The growth genes were discovered accidentally by scientists at the Memorial University of Newfoundland when they were trying to produce salmon which can tolerate cold winters.

They were experimenting with a so-called "anti-freeze" gene which lowers the freezing point of the fish's blood. In salmon the gene had the unexpected effect of putting a growth hormone which is normally kept in check into overdrive.

Only some salmon were affected. But those that were grew 10 times faster than normal. Now Otter Ferry Salmon, a company on Loch Fyne which produces eggs for the fish farming industry, has bought the technique and the services of the scientists to test the commercial potential.