Why Sushi?

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.




theGlowing 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.




Live Flourescent Glowing Pet Mice!

Check out some mice recipes


the hare and the turtle


Although many people think that AquAdvantage® Salmon will become the FIRST Genetically Modified ANIMAL to be approved for sale in the U.S., GloFish® have been available for purchase in the U.S. since 2003. We were able to find many classroom experiments using GloFish® but no culinary experiments. Since we could not find any recipes on how best to prepare GloFish® for eating, we created the Glowing Sushi Cooking Show.


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



Viewer Submitted Recipe

GFPizza - Cook a pizza. After it comes out of the oven add Electric Green™ GloFish® and Anchovies. For best results serve in complete darkness with backlight as the only light source. Also, if the GloFish get too hot they will lose their color and glow, so be careful.


Viewer Q & A

flying fish

Fish on A Plane
Q: I want to make my non-American friends some Glowing Sushi. How do I travel with them?

A: Travelling with these fish gets you into murky legal territory. It all comes down to labeling - are you transporting food, a pet, or a GMO? Each of these categories are handled differently by customs officers and are subject to different laws in various nation states. However, Zebra Fish are originally from South Asia, and labs all over the world use glowing zebra fish in their research, so there must be possibilities available for international travel. Your best bet is to talk to your local customs officer. If you are feeling adventurous, try freeze-drying them, which should preserve them temporarily without denaturing them too much. This will keep them glowing!

fish food

Not in California Roll
Q: I live in California and can't seem to find GloFish® anywhere except in black market pet stores and underground dining clubs. What gives?

A: California is the only state in the nation that does not allow the sale of GloFish®. Sale or possession of GloFish® remains illegal in California due to a regulation that restricts all genetically modified fish. The regulation was implemented before the marketing of GloFish®, largely due to concern about AquaBounty's AquaAdvantage® Salmon product. Yorktown Technologies has decided to not undertake California's ecological review to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act citing the cost and time involved in that process, as well as the uncertainty of the outcome. Although California is a large state it does share borders with states where GoFish® are totally legal to purchase.

glofish breeding

Breeding for Eating
Q: Can I breed GloFish® at home in order to serve them at larger food events? It is getting really expensive to buy them one at a time for each sushi roll I want to make. My friend is an aquarium enthusiast and he told me that the eggs are pressure treated to make them infertile.

A: It has been found that at least some GloFish® are fertile and will reproduce in a captive environment. Also, breeding them would allow you to control what chemicals the fish are exposed to (you don't want to be eating Melachite Green, for example). However, doing so would violate Yorktown Technologies' license which states: "Intentional breeding and/or any sale, barter, or trade, of any offspring of GloFish® fluorescent ornamental fish is strictly prohibited." Be careful not to let your tank accidentally get to the temperature and Ph level where the fish might breed spontaneously!



glofish breeding



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:

1. Andrew Cubitt (formerly at Anaptys BioSciences Inc. now at Global Patent Group ) on Toxicity of Fluorescent Proteins [undated] (.pdf)

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:

  1. Fluorescent proteins have been widely used without apparent toxic effects.
  2. Fluorescent proteins are already present in the food chain.
  3. Fluorescent proteins do not appear to share significant homology to known allergens.
  4. Fluorescent proteins would be predicted to act like other proteins and undergo rapid digestion in the gut.
  5. ???? (missing).
  6. CONCLUSION: “It is concluded that there is no basis for believing that fluorescent protein expression in transgenic fish would represent a toxological risk, to either the environment or consumers, if the fish should enter the ecosystem.”

2. Perry B. Hackett on Safety Issues [2003] (.pdf)

In this letter to Alan Blake, Prof. Hacket answers no to the following three questions:

  1. Will transgenic tropical fish survive should they escape home aquaria?
  2. If the fish were to survive, would they pose any risk to the environment?
  3. If the fish did not survive, might the transgene escape and have unexpected consequences?

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.

3. Eric M. Hallerman (Virginia Tech) on Ecological Risk Assessment [2003] (.pdf)

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.”

4. William Muir (Purdue University) on Environmental Risks [2003] (.pdf)

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 info@genomicgastronomy.com


Stop and Glow Nigirizushi

glofish breeding


Kryptonite Roll

glofish breeding


glofish breeding

If YOU get bored, you can also make the
Kryptonite roll any of these four colours!


This website is intended to be educational and entertaining.
The authors take no responsibility for any actions you take.