Ocean pout

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Ocean pout
WHSA Ocean Pout.jpg
Ocean pout at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Zoarcidae
Genus: Zoarces
Z. americanus
Binomial name
Zoarces americanus
(Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
  • Macrozoarces americanus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Ocean pout, Newfoundland, Canada

The ocean pout (Zoarces americanus) is an eelpout in the family Zoarcidae. It is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England and eastern Canada. The fish has antifreeze proteins in its blood, giving it the ability to survive in near-freezing waters.

Use in genetic modification[edit]

Scientists have succeeded in taking genes from ocean pout and implanting those into the Atlantic salmon.[2][3] The promoter for the antifreeze protein gene is used in conjunction with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon, which leads to a higher concentration of the growth hormone in the blood, causing the genetically modified salmon to grow much more rapidly. These transgenic salmon reach a harvest weight in two-thirds of the time that it takes their unmodified counterparts. Controversy has arisen, as some view genetically altered salmon as a potential threat to wild salmon stocks should it escape into the wild. AquaBounty Technologies has attempted to address these concerns by stating that all of the transgenic salmon to be intended for sale will be sterile females. As of late 2017, several tons have been sold in Canada, and final approvals and decisions on labeling are pending in the United States.[citation needed] Some restaurant and grocery store chains in the United States have announced they will not sell the new fish, citing concerns over its safety for human consumption, despite no scientific evidence showing a risk.[4]

In June 2006, the Unilever company announced that it would research the potential use of genetically modified yeast to grow antifreeze proteins based on a gene from the ocean pout, and use proteins extracted from the yeast to improve the consistency and storage properties of ice cream. Incorporating these ice-structuring proteins means that a lower cream content, and thus a lower calorie content, ice cream can be manufactured without the risk of ice crystal formation.[5]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2021). "Zoarces americanus" in FishBase. July 2021 version.
  2. ^ Gorman 2002
  3. ^ Burke 2001
  4. ^ Burros 2002
  5. ^ Moskin 2006


  • Gorman, James (22 September 2002). "Dumb and Dumber: Here's a Fish Story With Legs". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  • Burke, Monte (19 February 2001). "Cannery Roe". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2002. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  • Burros, Marian (18 September 2002). "Chefs Join Campaign Against Altered Fish". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  • Moskin, Julia (26 July 2006). "Can a bit of Arctic pep up ice cream?". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]