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U.S. Gov't Grows Giant Mutant Trout

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the now-with-more-frickin' dept.

Biotech 56

An anonymous reader writes "USDA scientists are genetically engineering trout that have three sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two. Trout with three chromosome grow faster because they are unable to reproduce, and energy from the food they eat is shifted from reproduction to growth. No word on whether said trout produce more fish fingers than their non-Frankenstein brothers."

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Oblig. Jurassic Park quote: (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116349)


"Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should"
Dr. Ian Malcolm

Re:Oblig. Jurassic Park quote: (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116412)

"God help us, we're in the hands of engineers" -same guy same movie.

Re:Oblig. Simpsons (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13116423)

I, for one, welcome our genetically engineering trout that have three sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two Overlords.

Re:Oblig. Jurassic Park quote: (1)

mbius (890083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119760)

Dinosaurs.
Hefty trout.
Not seeing it.

Where are my sharks with freakin' laser beams? (4, Funny)

Pacifix (465793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116365)

First you give me sea bass, mutated sea bass and now these? I asked for sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads, people!

Re:Where are my sharks with freakin' laser beams? (3, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116535)

good one. I thought of blinky [google.com] .

/me slaps [nick] around a bit with a LARGE trout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13120436)

/me slaps [nick] around a bit with a large trout brings a new meaning to LARGE trout...

Re:Where are my sharks with freakin' laser beams? (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116847)

Dr. Evil: Are they ill tempered?

Number Two: Absolutely.

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

joeslugg (8092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116401)

Seems fishy to me.
Why go through this sort of effort to make bigger trout?
Why not just farm-raise fish of a larger species (like catfish)?

Can I get the goverment to make a genetically-altered giant version
of all my other favorite foods too? (e.g. Twinkies)

Is this a good use of our tax dollars?

Re:Hmm... (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116439)

Mmmmmmm. genetically-altered giant Twinkie. Ggghahaahhahahhahh.

People's tastes dictate how some groups' reasearch is funded, unfortunately.

Re:Hmm... (2, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116441)

Mmm, gotta love RTFMing.
a) Make bigger trout to have bigger fillets, because that's what the consumer wants
b) Catfish doesn't taste like trout. People want trout.
c) Twinkies growing on trees... mmmmm.... oh, wait
d) I'd say it's a lot better than many uses of our tax dollars, but that's just MHO.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13116645)

d) I'd say it's a lot better than many uses of our tax dollars
like bombing inocent civilans on iraq?

Re:Hmm... (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116456)

Can I get the goverment to make a genetically-altered giant version of all my other favorite foods too? (e.g. Twinkies)

Twinkies are already genetically altered much more than they should be... So much so that they are superior to any other genetic being (they will even survive a nuclear holocaust).

Re:Hmm... (1)

joeslugg (8092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116749)

I for one welcome our new creme-filled-golden-spongecake overlords...

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124903)

I'd like them to go back to banana creme.

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116491)


Can I get the goverment to make a genetically-altered giant version
of all my other favorite foods too? (e.g. Twinkies)


I don't know...have they finished sequencing the Twinkie genome yet? ^_^

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13122041)

Please stop adding your "^_^" at the end. Stop considering the readers too stoopid to understand that it was a joke, without any stupid hints. Besides, most your jokes would be funnier without a smilie at the end.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124161)

Stop considering the readers too stoopid to understand that it was a joke, without any stupid hints.

You're new here, aren't you?

Re:Hmm... (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138400)

I most especially welcome our new genetically altered Giant Twinkie overlords!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

In other news... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13116428)

Still no cure for cancer.

Re:In other news... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116464)

Stop posting stupid comments on Slashdot and go find a cure for cancer.

Re:In other news... (1)

relaxrelax (820738) | more than 9 years ago | (#13132450)

Cure for cancer?

Who the hells wants to cure such a grandiose economy booster? Look at all the pain killer revenue alone, cancer should be *encouraged*, not cured!

And oh, don't leak this memo to slashdot. -Monsato (or whoever made frankenstinkingfish)

sad (1)

Tachikoma (878191) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116474)

It's good to see that we're on the same wacky science boat as the Chinese [bbc.co.uk]

Re:sad (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116698)

How is this wacky? Polyploidy is probably the simplest mutation to induce, generally easier than any other effect you want, but affects a surprising number of things depending on the organism. I wouldn't have been able to predict this result (the growing faster, how do they know they're infertile?)

Re:sad (1)

Tachikoma (878191) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117223)

oh, you and you're big fancy words and your small, difficult ones.

I'm not going to pretend to know what 'polyploidy' means but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that it is in fact a real word with actual meaning.
My sole intent was to point out the scientific insignificance of this 'polyploidy' experiment and put it up there with some astronomical pig sperm.
No matter how many movies we make about bad things happening after sending things into space (Planet of the apes / Event horizon / Space balls) or genetic manipulation ( Jurassic Park / Akira / various south park episodes... ) we still pursue it.

Number of people genetically big fish could feed : countless
Number of hippie conservatives who will bitch about playing God : countless + butload

Re:sad (1)

Stephen H-B (771203) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119708)

"Polyploidy" is just the scientific name for "more than one set of chromosomes". There are various sub-terms as well, eg sperm and ova are 'haploid' (one set), most animals inc. humans are 'diploid' (two sets) and plants are all over the place. Breeding for polyploidy happened in the development of many of our modern crop plants from their wild ancestors. IIRC, modern wheat is hexaploid (six sets of chromosomes).

Polyploidy has various effects that differ between organisms and are hard to predict (I don't know if it's impossible or just hard). But just adding some extra copies of DNA is highly unlikely to give us a Jurassic Park/Resident Evil scenario.

Trust me, I'm a biochemist :)

Bandersnatch! (2, Funny)

jhoger (519683) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116518)

Not only should we have giant genetically engineered food animals, but we should make them smart, just to tell God and anyone else who the new boss is.

Huh? (4, Interesting)

JoeD (12073) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116525)

Energy is shifted from reproduction to growth?

Polyploid organisms are bigger because their cells are bigger, not because their energy is transferred.

They also say that because the triploid trout can't reproduce, there is no danger to existing stocks, but they seem to have forgotten the fertile tetraploid trout used to produce them.

Interesting factiod: the same technique used to produce the triploid trout is used to produce the triploid seedless watermelons in your supermarket.

Re:Huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13116958)

I think you have your factoids and your triploids mixed up. Any basic genome expert knows that the tetratroids are attached to the bi-fiber hemmeroid layer, resulting in at least a factor of three increase in the simuloid sequencing. If you keep that in mind then the triploid vs biploid all makes sense.

Re:Huh? (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117400)

I think you have your factoids and your triploids mixed up. Any basic genome expert knows that the tetratroids are attached to the bi-fiber hemmeroid layer, resulting in at least a factor of three increase in the simuloid sequencing. If you keep that in mind then the triploid vs biploid all makes sense.

AC could hae given a very lucid correction, or blown smoke up our collective arses. And I'll never know the difference...

Re:Huh? (1)

BlueFashoo (463325) | more than 9 years ago | (#13118595)

The AC blew smoke up your ass.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142049)

Sorry, incorrect.

Their cells are not bigger. DNA is small. Doubling it isn't going to affect the size of a cell in any way. Think of it as adding a drop of water to a 5 liter carboy.

Also, how exactly is the tetraploid dangerous? In the worst case, it would breed with a duploid in the wild and produce sterile fish. It is extremely likely that tetraploid fish occur naturally in the wild, albiet rarely. This is how some types of speciation occur. For a good example of this, read up on the domestication of wheat.

Finally, yes, energy *IS* shifted from reproduction to growth. Energy budget models are the most common depiction of this effect. A simplistic energy budget model looks something like this:

Juvenile: C = A + E
Adult: C = A + E + R

Where
C = consumption
A = Assimilation (growth and respiration)
E = Egestion (umm...poop essentially)
R = Reproduction

Basically without reproduction, you're making it so the animals put the extra energy into Assimilation, or basically giving it a juvenile growth pattern for life.

Is There an Ichthyologist in the House? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116597)

Trout with three chromosome sets grew faster than fish with two sets, so the industry tries to breed fish with three sets for meat production. Rainbow trout with three sets of chromosomes grow faster because they are unable to reproduce. The energy from the food they eat is shifted from reproduction to growth.

Is this really true? Unless biology has changed much since high school, triploid animals are usually sterile because meiosis fails. They still have gonads, and those gonads still go about trying to produce gametes, they just fail.

They're bigger because the extra set of chromosomes codes for additional proteins. At least that's what they used to say.

Oh, great... (1, Interesting)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116618)

Giant mutant trout with Klinefelter's syndrome [wikipedia.org] . Just what the world needs.

In an amusing bit of coincidence, the best test for Klinefelter's is known as FISH [nodak.edu] .

since they have three of things..... (1)

tscheez (71929) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116672)

do they have three eyes?

(blinkey)

Hot Fish (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116690)

So the Dep't of Agriculture is having a clearance sale on rubbish from the Dep't of Energy's nuclear energy/waste sites. Are they financing Superfund sites with bake sales, now that Bush has cut off its budget [sierraclub.org] ?

Well, (1)

QSYSMAN (755313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116784)

I, for one, welcome our giant, genetically altered fish overlords.

Advantage? (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117219)

If they can't reproduce... what on earth is the advantage?

Looks like all we're doing is getting 1 step closer to vat grown fish sticks, yee haw!

Re:Advantage? (2, Informative)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119987)

You take normal trout eggs, which are very plentiful, run them through a process, and grow giant trout, which you eat. You'd have eaten them anyway if they were normal, though I don't know whether the normal trout would have been collected before or after reproducing.

If normal trout are collected before reproducing, then the situation with the giant trout would result in no net change in trout population over the situation with normal trout. And in that case, the only concern is whether the extra money you get from giant trout covers the cost of the process.

not the first time USDA has fooled with ma nature (2, Informative)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117341)

a few years back the ecologists and biologist were very worried about a spate of population declines and muliple cases of hideous mutations in frog species. we had lots of 3-legged frogs in places around the US when the French were the only ones who'd want that. UV from depleted ozone, pesticide polution...all sorts of theories were advanced. Turns out ONE of the problems was desease or parasites introduced into ponds and rivers when the Forest Service and restocked fisheries with trout they'd farmed in tanks.

These are already being planted (4, Interesting)

nyrk (779328) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117769)

Nothing really new to see here. These fish are already being planted in lakes in Washington State. They are called triplods. They are usually planted in heavily fished lakes for sport fishermen to catch. I guess not many slashdotters are sport fishermen.

Hmm... (1)

Halvard (102061) | more than 9 years ago | (#13117810)

this and farm run off gets you egg producting male bass [washingtonpost.com] in the Potomac River.

salmon - reproduction keeps them lean (1)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119042)


compare to what was announced in the news today...

--| US Government Growing Giant Mutant Trout [scienceblog.com] |---

Trout with three chromosome sets grew faster than fish with two sets, so the industry tries to breed fish with three sets for meat production. RAINBOW TROUT WITH THREE SETS OF CHROMOSOMES GROW FASTER BECAUSE THEY ARE UNABLE TO REPRODUCE. The energy from the food they eat is shifted from reproduction to growth.

with what was said in 1924...

--| What Steiner Said About Salmon in 1924 |---

Salmon... have a special organization. They must live in the sea to develop proper muscles. They need earth influences to feed properly and develop muscles. Those earth influences are mainly in the salt in the sea. Salmon must live in the salt of the sea in order to develop strong muscles. But they cannot reproduce if they live in the sea, because they are made in such a way that the sea water closes them off completely from the universe. Salmon would have died out long ago if they had to reproduce in the sea. They are the exception. As they gain their strength in the sea -- where they develop muscle -- they are in the first place fairly blind, and in the second place are unable to reproduce. Their reproductive organs and their sense organs grow weak, they are dull. But salmon grow big in the sea. Now to prevent the salmon from dying out -- we can see this by considering the salmon in the North Sea and over in the Atlantic -- salmon migrate up the Rhine year after year. This is why they are called Rhine salmon. But the Rhine makes salmon lean; they lose their muscles. The size to which they have grown in the salty sea is lost in the Rhine. The salmon get really slender; they lose their muscles. Their sense organs and above all their reproductive organs, male and female, develop to an enourmous degree, and the salmon are able to reproduce in the Rhine. The salmon must thus migrate from the salty sea to the freshwater Rhine every year in order to reproduce. They have to grow lean, because the old ones who are still living and the young ones that have arrived all migrate back to the sea, to lose their slenderness and gain in size.

(Rudolf Steiner, Lecture: FEtE - February 9, 1924; GA 352)

If you see in one creature an exceptional trait
In some way bestowed, then ask at once where it suffers
Elsewhere some lack, and search with investigative spirit.
At once you will find to each form the key,
For never did beast, with all kinds of teeth his upper
Jaw bone bedecking, bear horns on its forehead,
And therefore a horned lion the eternal mother
Could not possibly fashion though she apply her full strength;
For she has not mass enough, rows of teeth
To fully implant and antlers and horns to push forth.

(Goethe, Metamorphosis of Animals)

Re:salmon - reproduction keeps them lean (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120474)

If you see in one creature an exceptional trait
In some way bestowed, then ask at once where it suffers


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_Hyena [wikipedia.org]

I hate it... (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119921)

...when they have news like this and absolutely no pictures. Remember the giant catfish? Most of the value of the news was in the pictures which showed the fish compared with people, pictures worth a thousand words.

Now how would you feel if you had read all about elephants and never seen one?

Great cheesy shows of the '80s (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120565)

"three sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two"

Am I the only one that thought of the syndicated TV version of War of the Worlds where the alien invaders had triple helix DNA?

Re:Great cheesy shows of the '80s (1)

DonServo (727377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121152)

Yes.

Re:Great cheesy shows of the '80s (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121394)

Thank you for surveying all of the other Slashdot readers and saving me the trouble.

Old addage reborn... (1)

macwise77 (876493) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121260)

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a....proximately 3 1/2 weeks. Teach a man to genetically alter fish for increased yield...


Trademark: Mule Trout (1)

jeepliberty (624159) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123118)

Instead of Mutant Trout, they should call it Mule Trout. A mule is result of sex between a horse and a jack ass. A mule has no sex organs.

Re:Trademark: Mule Trout (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 9 years ago | (#13126258)

A mule is result of sex between a horse and a jack ass.

Well, some jack ass decided that a friggin' mutant trout was in order, so you may be onto something.

My first thought was to run around screaming "we're all gonna die, we're all gonna die" when I read this story.

Re:Trademark: Mule Trout (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 9 years ago | (#13126778)

> A mule has no sex organs

This is not true.

This bugs me (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123805)

Frankenstien was the doctor not the monster
Also not all GM is bad, some of it is benificial to us provided each new mutant is throughly checked out for undesirable side effects.

"Genetic engineering is our way of corecting gods horible, horible mistakes" - Mr. Maky

New Bigger Trout (1)

ShortBeard (740119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13131265)

They gained chrmosomes by a third and will increase their mercury by half!

Mmmmm, metaly.

our gene designer overlords said... (1)

relaxrelax (820738) | more than 9 years ago | (#13132498)

Why do you insist that life is sacred or taboo? Why not remove a genetic code here and add another code there? Is life so sacred that it brooks no improvement?

-Chairman Chiang Hive, _looking God in the eye_

Re:our gene designer overlords said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13137664)

This is a 'fake' quote from Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri. Great game, by the way. It deals with genetics a bit in the game, sometimes in very disastrous ways.
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