Being a shellfish without the requisite fins and scales, the nonkosher crustaceans that are required eating at most Baltimore backyard summer parties are farbotn to all but the most secular of Jews. But now, thanks to new genetic engineering first developed in the animal testing labs at Johns Hopkins University, those days of filling up on the meager kosher offerings at the company party are gone: The kosher crab is about to skitter into Baltimore crab houses and seafood carryout joints.
“After years of trial and error, and not a few unfortunate freakish results, we have finally been successful at genetically modifying the egg sacs of a female blue crab by infecting the DNA that defines the shell with DNA from a Maryland rockfish,” said Dr. Larry Fishbein, Bloomberg distinguished professor and director of the Center for Arthropod Taxonomy at Johns Hopkins University.
The new species, Fishbein explained, looks just like a typical Maryland blue crab, but instead of the species’ natural bony exoskeleton, the new species, dubbed genus cancerus caeruleum terra maria kosherus, has thousands of overlapping scale structures encasing its appendages, with fins around what normally would be the crab’s pointy body shell. With the shell replaced by fins and scales, Baltimore kashrus authorities have dubbed the new crabs fair game for observant Jews.
“And the best part is that we have been able to maintain that same trademark taste and characteristic sweetness and delicacy of the best lump blue crab meat,” Fishbein said. “Only one hurdle remains. For some reason, they don’t turn red when we steam them, but we’re experimenting with goldfish DNA to remedy that.”