2012-12-21. Engineered Fish Moves a Step Closer to Approval

posted Dec 22, 2012, 8:39 AM by Alan Gould
| Andrew Pollack, The New York Times. Relevant to GSS Losing Biodiversity, chapter 4. Excerpt: Government regulators moved a big step closer on Friday to allowing the first genetically engineered animal — a fast-growing salmon — to enter the nation’s food supply. The Food and Drug Administration said it had concluded that the salmon would have “no significant impact” on the environment. The agency also said the salmon was “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon.” … The AquAdvantage salmon… is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon and a genetic switch from the ocean pout, an eel-like creature. The switch keeps the gene on so that the salmon produces growth hormone year round, rather than only during warm weather. The fish reach market weight in about 18 months instead of three years. … The main concern addressed was whether the genetically engineered salmon could escape and establish themselves in the wild, with detrimental environmental consequences. The larger salmon, for instance, could conceivably outcompete wild Atlantic salmon for food or mates.  The agency said the chance this would happen was “extremely remote.” It said the salmon would be raised in inland tanks with multiple barriers to escape. Even if some fish did escape, the nearby bodies of water would be too hot or salty for their survival. And reproduction would be unlikely because the fish would be sterilized, though the sterilization technique is not foolproof…. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/business/gene-altered-fish-moves-closer-to-federal-approval.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121222&_r=0