Meet Arnie, the
Terminator Trout with the physique of a body-builder
have created a genetically-modified trout with the rippling muscles of a
body-builder. The mutant fish is the result of a decade-long effort by Terry
Bradley, a professor of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Rhode
Island. The rainbow trout’s enhanced muscle mass is between 15 to
20 per cent higher than that of a standard fish, thanks to Professor Bradley’s
research into the inhibition of myostatin, a protein that slows growth.
The increased muscle mass will have commercial benefits in that larger fish
can be grown without increasing the amount of food they need. While the
physical differences in the fish include a prominent dorsal hump, making
it look as if it has muscular shoulders, and the appearance of ‘six
pack abs’, no differences in behaviour have been noted.
the results as ‘stunning’, Professor Bradley told Science Daily:
‘Belgian blue cattle have a natural mutation in myostatin causing
a 20 to 25 percent increase in muscle mass, and mice overexpressing myostatin
exhibit a two-fold increase in skeletal muscle mass. ‘But fish have
a very different mechanism of muscle growth than mammals, so we weren’t
certain it was going to work.’ Luckily for Professor Bradley, it did
work. The team injected thousands of rainbow trout eggs with various DNA
types designed to inhibit myostatin. Of the eggs that hatched, those which
carried the gene began to develop ‘body-builder’ physiques.
Professor Bradley added: 'The results have significant implications for
commercial aquaculture and provide completely novel information on the mechanisms
of fish growth.
results also allow for comparisons between the mechanisms of growth of muscle
in mammals versus fish, and it could shed light on muscle wasting diseases