March 10, 2010

And We Want To Pump...You Up!

Popular Science is reporting that mad scientists (my interpretation) at the University of Rhode Island are unfortunately trying to create the Hans & Franz strain of trout.


I suppose scientists have been genetically altering other animals (i.e. cattle, poultry, etc...) for human benefit for quite a long time - isn't there some urban legend about Perdue raising boneless & featherless chickens?  But for some reason I just get sick to my stomach looking at the distorted body of what is usually a beautifully proportioned fish.  If one of these escaped supermarket coolers and made it into my trout stream, I doubt my standard 2-lb test would handle this bruiser (if he could actually swim).

Transgenic Musclebound Trout with Six-Pack Abs Could Arrive Soon on Your Dinner Plate
A 10-year effort has finally created pumped-up fish for commercial aquaculture
By Jeremy Hsu Posted 03.10.2010 at 3:33 pm

Rainbow trout with six-pack abs and burly shoulders have emerged from a University of Rhode Island laboratory, and could someday find their way to humans' dinner tables. That's assuming diners don't panic at the sight of the muscular ichthyoid awaiting their knives and forks.

The bodybuilder stature of the trout comes from turning off myostatin, a protein that normally slows muscle growth. Researchers had known of a natural myostatin mutation that allowed for 20 to 25 percent more muscle growth in Belgian blue cattle, but did not know if the same would apply to the different mechanism of muscle growth in fish.

Terry Bradley, a fisheries and aquaculture expert at the University of Rhode Island, worked with a group of grad students for 500 hours to inject 20,000 rainbow trout eggs with different DNA snippets designed to block myostatin.

About 300 eggs ended up carrying the gene for more muscle growth, and eventually produced fish that mostly have the six-pack ab appearance -- even though the fish don't have standard abdominal muscles. A big dorsal hump adds the appearance of muscular shoulders.

The offspring of these muscular trout also carry the gene in their muscle cells. Bradley's group hopes to see if the fish grow faster, besides having 15 to 25 times more muscle without eating more food.

If the transgenic trout meet FDA approval, they could join the 1,000 trout farms that churn out about $80 million worth of trout each year. Such fish also appear to display normal behavior for now, despite a faint resemblance to the Street Sharks.

The full article (with reader comments) can be found on the Popular Science website:

Images & Video (below) courtesy of the University of Rhode Island 


  1. Too Sci-Fi for me. I prefer the beauty of "normal" trout.


  2. I'm with you - they're gross. Give me a 6' brookie anyday

  3. And some wonder why I have a hard time dealing with some aspects of humanity. This example is going WAY too far, with just about everything else man is doing these days.

    Sorry about the rant. I'll stick with Shoreman and Wolfy.

  4. That's just wrong! One of the ugliest trout I've ever seen hands down.

  5. wow, I don't know what to say except what's going on. Butch