Transgenic salmon: one step closer to the market

AquAdvantage salmon grows faster than non-transgenic Atlantic salmon (source: AquaBounty Technologies)
AquAdvantage salmon grows faster than non-transgenic Atlantic salmon (source: AquaBounty Technologies)

The famous faster-growing transgenic salmon AquAdvantage, produced by the biotechnology company AquaBounty Technologies (Maynard, MA, USA), might see eventually its path cleared to the US market in year 2013, 24 years after it was originally generated (in 1989) and 18 years after the company initiated its application for commercialization (in 1995). This long-awaited green light will come after many debates, studies and investigations, and after having been declared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a safe food product, “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon” (on 20 September 2010), and with no significant impact to the environment (on 4 May 2012). The last FDA report on environmental safety of the AquAdvantage salmon, prepared more than seven months ago, was eventually made public last week (on 21 December 2012), after an article published in Slate.com suggested political interference of the AquAdvantage’s FDA approval process . Subsequently, several newspapers reported on this FDA’s new report (e.g., Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Independent) which appears to be, probably, one of the last steps (still pending the mandatory 60 day period for public comments) before the eventual approval for commercialization of this transgenic fish, after being passed the FDA’s Food Safety and Environmental Safety assessments. If this finally becomes a reality, the AquAdvantage salmon would be the first genetically-modified animal authorised as food for human consumption. These are not only good news for the producing company itself but for the Animal Biotechnology field as a whole.
The AquAdvantage salmon, is a genetically-modified Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) [termed transgenic line EO-1alpha] carrying an “all-fish” transgene (opAFP-GHc2) which contains the coding sequence of the growth hormone gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) under the control of 5’ UTR, promoter and 3’ UTR sequences of the type III anti-freeze protein OP5a gene from the ocean pout (Macrozoarces americanus). The transgenic EO-1alpha line grows considerably more rapidly than non-transgenic Atlantic salmon. This genetic modification provides AquAdvantage salmon with the potential to reach market size (4-6 kg) in about half the time required by conventional Atlantic salmon (3 years) cultured commercially in sea cages. This genetically-modified salmon has been described and characterized in several scientific publications (e.g., Du et al. 1992; Yaskowiak et al. 2006; Hobbs and Fletcher 2008; Levesque et al. 2008).
As described in the FDA’s last report, the AquAdvantage salmon would be produced as triploid (and therefore sterile), all-female (and therefore monosex) populations with eyed-eggs as the product for commercial sale and distribution. These eggs would be generated in the AquaBounty Technologies facility on Prince Edward Island (Canada) and thereafter shipped to a grow-out land-based facility in Panama, where they would be reared to market size and harvested for processing (e.g., preparation of fish fillets, steaks, etc.) prior to retail sale in the US. AquAdvantage salmon would not be produced or grown in the US, or in net pens or cages, and no live fish would be imported for processing.

To date, only one single product originated in transgenic animals (ATryn) has been approved by the FDA (in February 2009). ATryn is a recombinant human antithrombin produced by GTC Biotherapeutics in the milk of transgenic goats, indicated for the prevention of peri-operative and peri-partum thromboembolic events in hereditary antithrombin deficient patients. The use of ATryn had been first approved by the EMEA (European Medicines Agency) in July 2006 under exceptional circumstances for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in surgery of patients with congenital antithrombin deficiency. In Europe, a second product produced in transgenic animals (Ruconest) has been already authorised by the EMEA (in October 2010). Ruconest is a recombinant form of human C1 esterase inhibitor, produced by Pharming Group N.V. in the milk of transgenic rabbits and indicated for the treatment of patients with hereditary angioedema caused by mutations in the gene encoding the C1 esterase inhibitor.

Transgenic Animals meeting in Nantes, France, 7 June 2013

Transgenic Animals meeting in Nantes, France, 7 June 2013
Transgenic Animals meeting in Nantes, France, 7 June 2013

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is happy to announce the co-sponsorship of the Transgenic Animals meeting that will be held in Nantes (France), on 7th June 2013, on “Technical advances in the generation of transgenic animals and in their applications“. This 1-day event will be the 2013 edition of a transgenic animal meeting that has been held, regularly, every two years, and to which the ISTT has already sponsored the two previous editions, held in 2009 and 2011. This 2013 edition is organized by ISTT Members Ignacio Anegon and Séverine Ménoret, with the help of additional members of the Organizing Committee: Séverine Rémy, Laurent Tesson, Claire Usal, Laure-Héléne Ouisse and Reynald Thynard. The following institutions are organizing and supporting this meeting: Transgenic rats common facility of SFR François Bonamy, Biogenouest and IBiSA. The scientific program of Nantes-2013 includes the following speakers:

  • Bruce Whitelaw (The Roslin Institute and University of Edinburgh, UK), ISTT member
  • Ralf Kühn (Institute for Developmental Genetics, Helmholtz Center Munich, Munich, Germany)
  • Manfred Gossen (Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies-Charite, Berlin, Germany)
  • Yann Herault (Institut Clinique de la Souris and IGBMC, Illkirch/Strasbourg, France), ISTT member
  • Alexandre Simon (Inserm Transfert, Paris, France)
  • Belén Pintado (Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia, CSIC, Madrid, Spain), ISTT member
  • Jean-Stephan Joly (INRA U1126, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France)
  • Krzysztof Jagla (UMR CNRS 6293, Clermont-Ferrand, France)
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier (Department “Regulation in Infection Biology”,Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Germany)
  • Xiaoxia Cui (Sigma, St. Louis, USA), ISTT member
  • Carine Giovannangeli (INSERM U 565-CNRS UMR 7196-TALGENE, Paris, France)
  • Ignacio Anegon (INSERM UMR 1064-ITUN, Nantes, France)
ISTT members are entitled to a reduced-fee registration. Registration deadline: 25 May 2013.

2013 Workshop on Managing Mouse Colonies: Genetics, Breeding and Welfare

Worshop on Managing Mouse Colonies: Genetics, Breeding and Welfare, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK, 8-10 May 2013
Worshop on Managing Mouse Colonies: Genetics, Breeding and Welfare, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK, 8-10 May 2013

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is most proud to support and co-sponsor, once again, the 2013 edition of the workshop on Managing Mouse Colonies: Genetics, Breeding and Welfare, which will be held at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK on 8-10 May 2013. This popular workshop is a collaboration between MRC Harwell, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the RSPCA Transgenic Training Working Group (TTWG) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. It aims to introduce experienced technicians and scientific staff involved with the management of genetically-modified mouse colonies to best practice with respect to the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) and animal welfare. The programme covers historical and current best practice in the maintenance of genetically-modified mouse colonies for scientific research and the differing disciplines involved in production, phenotyping and archiving.

The 2013 edition of this workshop is organized by ISTT Members James Bussell (WTSI) and Nikki Osborne (RSPCA), along with Neil Dear (SAHMRI) and Sara Wells(MRC-Harwell). The three-day program of this 2013 workshop will cover:
– Basic Genetics: what you need to know
– Fundamentals of Colony Management (including basic breeding calculations, e-resources & nomenclature)
– Mice in Biological Research (including establishing & maintaining GA and conditional lines, cryopreservation and archiving, mouse anatomy and necropsy)
– Health Monitoring and Wellbeing of Murine Colonies (including, GA resources, maintenance of high health status colonies, experimental design and what’s wrong with my mouse?)
All of these will be presented with particular attention to improving animal welfare and application of the 3Rs.

Instructors and Lecturers appointed to this 2013 workshop include:

  • James Bussell Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK; ISTT Member
  • Neil Dear South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Australia
  • Adrian Deeny University College London, UK
  • Martin Fray Medical Research Council, Harwell, UK; ISTT Member
  • Nikki Osborne RSPCA, UK; ISTT Member
  • Sara Wells Medical Research Council, Harwell, UK
  • Helen Booler Royal Veterinary College, UK
  • Jacqui White Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
  • Derek Fry University of Manchester, UK
  • Michelle Hudson-Shore FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) UK
  • Ian Jackson Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, UK
  • Brendan Doe Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK; ISTT Member

ISTT members are entitled to a discount in workshop registration. Application deadline is 8 March 2013. Download 2013 workshop flyer; Download 2013 workshop application form

2013 Worshop web site

 

The 12th Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2014) will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, in October 2014

The 12th Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2014) will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, in October 2014

The 12th Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2014) will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, in October 2014. From the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) it is our pleasure to first announce that he 12th Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2014) will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, in October 2014. After China and the Asiatic continent, hosting the TT2013 meeting, the ISTT-family will visit Europe again. The venue for the TT2014 meeting and its allocation to Edinburgh have recently been decided by the ISTT council, after carefully considering all proposals presented. The TT2014 Meeting Organisation will be co-chaired by Peter Hohenstein (PI Researcher at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh), Douglas Stratdhee (Head of Transgenic Technology at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow) and Bruce Whitelaw (Professor of Animal Biotechnology at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, and Editor-in-Chief of Transgenic Research, Springer), all three active ISTT members. Three prestigious Scottish research institutions will be supporting the TT2014 meeting: The Roslin Institute/University of Edinburgh, The Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine/University of Edinburgh and The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, in Glasgow. The exact dates for the TT2014 meeting, in October 2014, will be released soon.

All information regarding the TT2014 meeting will be published in its official meeting web site: www.tt2014.org, and all messages, comments, requests, inquiries, suggestions can be sent to the official meeting email address: tt2014@transtechsociety.org