If you want your food to glow in the dark, don't cook it! Proteins like GFP will become denatured. However, you can freeze GloFish® and they will not be denatured. Frozen and raw GloFish® will still fluoresce, and therefore make a visually exciting addition to experimental sushi recipes. NOTE: be careful, vinegar can also denature proteins. In order to safely prepare GloFish® you may want to freeze them to kill bacteria and parasites. You will also need to inquire about what chemicals (antibiotics and such) the fish have been exposed to prior to purchase.
Glowing Sushi Cooking Show uses everyday ingredients and some simple kitchen chemistry to explore cutting edge biotechnology.
The GloFish® is a patented and trademarked brand of genetically modified (GM) fluorescent zebrafish sold by Yorktown Technologies. Although not originally developed for the ornamental fish trade, it is one of the first genetically modified animals to become publicly available as a pet. Although not originally developed for use in sushi, it is one of the first genetically modified animals to become publicly available as meat.
Before purchasing a GloFish product and making recipes of any kind please read our safety essay.
Glowing Sushi is a byproduct of business innovation in the life sciences. Innovation is very often doing something that "wasn't supposed to be done". ZebraFish weren't supposed to glow. Glowing ZebraFish weren't supposed to leave the lab. Glowing ZebraFish weren't supposed to help fight environmental pollution. (Actually, that one never panned out!) Glowing ZebraFish weren't supposed to be sold as pets. Lifeforms weren't supposed to be patented and trademarked. GloFish® weren't supposed to be crossbred at home. GloFish® weren't supposed to be eaten. A byproduct of innovation is more innovation. And never quite as one expected. What do innovators upstream think about their progeny? Do they even recognize them? A byproduct of innovation is more innovation.
“How did I not know about this before!? I don’t eat fish, though, so part of me wants to do this with my GFP corn but I might get in trouble, I don’t know. I have papers showing GFP to be safe, and my research shows the transgenic variety to not be significantly different from genetically similar non-transgenic variety at least when it comes to seed storage proteins…” Anastasia Bodnar on BioFortified
ARE TRANSGENIC FLUORESCING ZEBRAFISH SAFE FOR HUMANS?
Many scientists, policy makers and industry groups have successfully argued and lobbied for releasing genetically engineered transgenic organisms from sterile and closed lab conditions, contending that they are safe for humans to be around, make products out of and consume, in many cases arguing that transgenic organims should not be treated as fundamentally different from non-transgenic organisms.
Below we provide relevant summaries of some documents and links to primary source materials you may want to review before purchasing, living with or consuming transgenic fluorescing zebrafish:
In this letter to Alan Blake, Andrew Cubitt, Ph.d, analyzes and comments on the the toxicity of fluorescent proteins that are commonly used in transgenic organisms. He goes on to do a literature review and reports that:
In this letter to Alan Blake, Prof. Hacket answers no to the following three questions:
Prof. Hackett writes “I have been involved with evaluation of safety issues regarding transgenic fish for the past 15 years and have been engaged with making such fish for about 18 years,” meaning that he has been genetically engineering fish since 1985 and evaluating safety issues regarding transgenic fish since 1988.
In this letter Prof. Hallerman provides his opinion that “from the viewpoint of ecological risk, I have no objection to your request to the California Fish and Game Commision for permission to sell your transgenic zebrafish through commercial outlets in California.”
Interestingly, he points to the findings by Gong et al. (2003) that “suggest no apparent difference in early viability relative to wild-type individuals, with the exception that fish expressing the green fluorescent protein appeared to exhibit a lower survival rate. The reproductive success of the transgenics approximated expectations. While preliminary, these results support the expectation that the modification at issue would not increase invasiveness, and that, if anything, might decrease it somewhat.”
In this letter Prof. Muir states that environmental risk assessment of GM fish “can be pre-determined from the probability of vertical transgene spread, i.e. from inter-mating and natural selection.”
Reviewing one paper he state “based on the published results of Gong et al (2003) and with the constructs they used, in the absence of any advantage in age at sexual maturity or adult viability, GFP has a significant net fitness disadvantage, indicating that one would expect natural selection to eliminate the transgene regardless of where it escaped or was released” but adding “The only components not measured by these researchers were age at sexual maturity and adult viability. I would not expect GFP to enhance either of these, but experimental data would be needed for verification.”
Muir does highlights both a mathematical error, and data that wasn’t collected as being limitations to this one study, but concludes that this does not change the net effect or the usefulness of the findings.
ARCHIVE: In addition to embedded primary source documents, a folder mirroring all of the publicly accessible documents is available here.
For those interested, it might be valuable to revisit the literature and testing since 2003 to better understand how the genotypical change of RFP, GFP and OFP zebrafish effects phenotypical expression other than color and flourescence. If you discover further information please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
If YOU get bored, you can also make the Kryptonite roll any of these four colours!
DISCLAIMER This website is intended to be educational and entertaining. The authors take no responsibility for any actions you take.