Eric Hallerman, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife sciences at Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, will brief the House of Representatives Science Committee on transgenic fish, Friday, Jan. 31, during a luncheon at 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. Hallerman is a member of the committee that wrote the recent National Academy of Sciences report, Animal Biotechnology: Science-Based Concerns.
Transgenic fish, one class of genetically modified fish, may be the first genetically engineered animal to receive federal approval for marketing as food. Researchers have experimented with a number of genes to create numerous potential products such as Atlantic salmon that grow faster than traditional salmon, and tilapia that may be a good source for Factor VII, a compound essential to clotting human blood.
Many questions exist about the benefits, risks, and issues unique to genetically modified fish. Hallerman has been invited along with Elliot Entis, co-founder of the biotech company Aqua Bounty Farms, by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology to brief the legislators on the science, promise, risks, and implications transgenic fish could have on the market, the environment, consumers, and the regulatory system.