GENIMPACT: An online project to assess the potential genetic effects of aquaculture

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Genetically modified foods have been the subject of considerable debate in recent years, and not everyone agrees on their effects. There has been a debate of two kinds, on the one hand about whether food can have a detrimental effect on human health and, on the other hand, what effect the cultivation of genetically modified crops has on the environment and the ecosystem as a whole. This debate has also reached the aquaculture industry, where some are concerned about the potential impact of farmed fish on wild stocks.

Recently, a multinational European project was launched with the aim of gathering information on the potential genetic effects of aquaculture. This information will then be disseminated to stakeholders, the government and the public.

The project is called  Genimpact  but its formal name is Evaluation of genetic impact of aquaculture activities on native populations - A European network and it's dr. Terje Svåsand from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research leading the project. Among those who are members of the project is Guðrún Marteinsdóttir, professor of fisheries at the Institute of Biology at the University of Iceland.

Dr. Þorleifur Ágústson, fish physiologist at IFL, will take part in this project and he will take part in projects 1 and 2, which are on the one hand the effect of aquaculture on the fish genome and on the other hand the development of measurement technology to assess genetic contamination in nature.