Genetically modified salmon, appears to be safe. Let us wait for the FDA’s announcement.
Modified Salmon: Miracle Food or “Frankenfish”?
The Food and Drug Administration hears both arguments Monday when it begins a two-day meeting on whether to approve the marketing of the genetically engineered fish, which would be the first such animal approved for human consumption. The agency has already said the salmon, which grows twice as fast as conventional salmon, is as safe to eat as the traditional variety.
Approval of the salmon would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease.
Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits – and profits – are huge, many individuals have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.
Genetically engineered – or GE – animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. With GE animals, their DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic.
In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon only produce the growth hormone some of the time.
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