The NY Times reports on the movement of genetically modified Atlantic salmon through the Food & Drug Administration's regulatory weirs. Several companies have moved their research through five of the seven steps required for approval, and seem poised to deliver a finished product.
The new fish is based on the Atlantic salmon. It receives some genetic material from the much larger Pacific Chinook salmon, and an off-on switch from another cold water relative. The switch is important, because it allows the salmon to continue growing during the cold weather months. For that reason, the Atlantic salmon reaches market weight more quickly. Although the current plan is to grow fish that "make weight" more quickly, it's possible that growers may prefer to allow the fish to grow to much larger size, creating thicker filets and steaks, more meat to size, etc. The illustration used in the NYT shows a typical salmon, and a jumbo fish
Some observers are concerned that the new fish could escape into the oceans, and out-compete native fish. Others express concern that the studies are to of sufficient length to observe subtle genetic changes. However, environmentalists see this as a way to reduce stress on native deep water fisheries.
Under current US law, there's no obligation to label these farm raised fish as GMO.
GMO salmon nearing FDA approval
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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:15 PM
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