GM Salmon "Frankenstein Fish": Why You Should Care!

From: Huffington Post:

GM Salmon: Why You Should Care!

It’s a well-known PR tactic to release bad or potentially unpopular news during the Holiday Season. So I always keep my eyes peeled to catch any news releases that might otherwise slip the net. I didn’t have to wait long.

On December 21, when most people were focusing on their upcoming festivities, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly released its draft environmental assessment on the highly controversial genetically engineered (GE) salmon, created by AquaBounty Technologies Inc.. The decision effectively gives the pubic less until February 25, 2013 to stop the commercial release of the world’s first GE animal intended for human consumption.

Dubbed the “Frankenstein fish” by its critics, AquaAdvantage Salmon, according to AquaBounty, is genetically engineered to “include a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon which provides the fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon.” Introducing the new genetic material results in “shorter production cycles and increased efficiency of production.” AquaBounty already has plans for GE trout and GE tilapia.

According to the company’s proposals, the production of GE salmon eggs would take place on Canada’s Prince Edward Island. From here, the eggs would be shipped to the Panama highlands, where the GE salmon would be raised to maturity in inland tanks (not at sea in nets), minimizing any risk of escape. Once they reach maturity, the fish would be slaughtered in Panama and processed into cuts, before being exported back to the U.S. for sale for human consumption.

I first wrote about AquaBounty’s proposal to introduce GE salmon back in 2010 when it was still pending FDA approval. At the time, it looked like the “Frankenstein Fish” would stay in the lab where it belongs. But the FDA’s recent decision could now signal a green light for the global production of GE salmon, and arguably open the floodgates for a range of other genetically engineered animals, including pigs, cattle and poultry.


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