reduction in native fish, such as catfish and rainbow trout. The research would explore four subjects:

  • G × E interactions: The study would compare the impact of varying temperature, food, and pathogens on GE fish as compared to wild/native species.

  • Genetic background effects: The study would compare various commercial-use stocks to understand the effect of different genetic backgrounds of recipient populations.

  • Competition with natives: Using mesocosms developed to reflect the extremes of the G × E interactions, the study would examine how GE fish compete relative to natives.

  • Gene flow to natives: Behavioral studies of reproduction would be conducted in the different mesocosms at the time of spawning.

Study of the Ecological Effects of Non-Native GE Fish

The second research proposal generated in this breakout session would be to determine how transgenic properties (growth, disease resistance, sex control, and others) influence the effects of non-native GE fish on the broader ecosystem. In particular, the studies would examine four variables:

  • Competition with native species: The study would ask if the GE traits make a non-native fish more or less competitive with a community of native fish.

  • Food web interactions: The research would look how a non-native GE fish would impact the naturally existing food web.

  • Habitat use and environmental boundaries: The research would examine the range of a GE fish and its use of physical and biotic resources in the aquatic environment.

  • Reproductive fitness: The research would explore whether the transgenic traits influence the ability of the non-native GE fish to become established.

Field studies that look at the same ecological effects of unmodified non-native fish and that parallel these four studies would inform future risk assessments and mesocosm studies.

This research might be conducted with the goal of understanding the implications of using transgenic technologies to develop biocontrol agents. The control of invasive species would involve the delivery of disruptive genes carried by the released transgenic biocontrol fish to the invasive species through breeding. It was noted that an international symposium on this topic currently is being organized.



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