Genetically Engineered Salmon

Posted on 16 December 2015



A genetically engineered salmon from AquaBounty Technologies, rear, with a conventionally raised sibling roughly the same age. U.S Food and Drug Administration, F.D.A., has approved this month, November 2015, a Genetically Engineered Salmon as fit for human consumption, as the first genetically engineered animal to be cleared for food and supermarkets in the united state.
 
AquaBounty Technologies is a small company that first approached the F.D.A. nearly two decades ago for the approval. After struggling for that long, the F.D.A. gave an initial approval that the GE Salmon would be safe to eat and for the environment.
 
The AquAdvantage salmon is an Atlantic salmon that has been genetically engineered to grow to the market size faster than the non-engineered one. The time for the GE Salmon to reach the marketing size is as little as half the time for non-GE salmon.
 
Ronald Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, said he was happy and somewhat surprised by the approval after all this time. F.D.A. officials said regarding that “the process took so long because it was the first approval of its kind”.
 
The salmon own a growth hormone gene that active only part of the year. The AquaAdvantage salmon is bred by inserting a growth hormone from the Chinook salmon and a genetic switch from the ocean pout, an eel-like creature, which keeps the transplanted gene continuously active. As a result, the GE salmon can grow to market weight in 18 to 20 months compared to 28 to 36 months for conventionally raised sibling as the company said.
 
Despite the approval, it is likely to be at least two years before any of the salmon reaches supermarkets, and at first it will be in small amounts. On the other hand, the approval was made despite the fact that the F.D.A. received nearly 2 million comments from the public in opposition, the largest number the agency has ever received on an action.
 
Some of the issues that rose from scientists and other food and environmental groups, the potential impact of the GE salmon on wild fish if they escape from the two facilities were approved to breed the fish in Canada and Panama. The F.D.A. said “”the fish couldn't survive in the surrounding environments due to water temperatures”. However, the F.D.A. did not analyse the environmental impacts if the fish actually escape and survive in the wild, scientists said as "They didn't do a failure mode analysis”.
 
Moreover, the risk of cross-breeding, the allergenic risks associated with GE salmon and the fact that the GE salmon are engineered to grow more quickly, they will have higher levels of the growth hormone known as IGF-1, which has been linked to an increased risk of several cancers, including prostate, breast, colorectal, and lung.
 
Also, the GE salmon may not have the same nutritional value as wild salmon. Specifically, studies indicate that it has significantly lower levels of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Regardless to the raised issues, The Centre for Food Safety has announced that it will sue the FDA over its approval. Environmental groups in Canada are also suing the Canadian government for approving the use of the Prince Edward Island facility for GE salmon egg production. And in the meantime, 59 retailers running 4,663 grocery stores in the US have said they will not sell genetically engineered seafood.
 
Despite the approval, all the issues are taken into consideration by scientists and other groups to try to stop the F.D.A., as GE salmon won't be hitting the shelves any soon and it will take nearly two years before the fish reach the market.

 
Photo source:nytimes.com
To read more about the F.D.A. approval for genetically engineered salmon visit
 
the F.D.A. official website at: www.fda.gov Trugh-out.org via: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33826-fda-s-approval-of-genetically-engineered-salmon-based-on-bad-science-say-consumer-advocates
 
Nytimes.com via: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/business/genetically-engineered-salmon-approved-for-consumption.html?_r=0

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