December 24, 2012
FDA Approves Genetically Modified Atlantic Salmon
Atlantic Salmon enhanced for faster growth with genes from Chinook Salmon and Ocean Pout finally wins FDA approval 17 years after AquaBounty Technologies began the process of seeking regulatory approval.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it could not find any valid scientific reasons to ban the production of GM Atlantic salmon engineered with extra genes from two other fish species – a decision that could soon lead to its commercial production.
The salmon will be sterilized females and will be grown in land-based containers at lower cost than catching wild salmon. The wild Atlantic salmon are overfished (see page 12 of that NOAA report) like many other fish species around the world.
Given trends in world population growth (and not much being done about it) we need ways to feed ourselves that cause less ecological damage. Our living standards are based on unsustainable uses of natural resources. The demands on those resources are growing and wild habitats are shrinking. We need ways to create what we need in dense land areas. So I genetic engineering of fish as a necessary response to our living beyond our means.
Randall Parker, 2012 December 24 11:22 AM
Great news, but one complaint is that farmed fish that is grown in land-based containers is often contaminated with toxic chemicals. This issue has to be addressed.
Another area of science would be to grow the cells from animals in laboratories directly. It is very possible that in the future meat will be grown artificially in laboratories. This would make it possible to avoid cholesterol and dangerous fats, while avoiding the mass-killings of poor animals in slaughterhouses.
Wolf-Dog, the bigger problem with aquaculture is where to get the DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids? We need genetically engineered land crops to supply them.
I guess the genetically engineered fish cells that grow in laboratories would also contain DHA and EPA. After all, this kind of fat cell can also be grown as part of the fish cells.
Separately Algae based DHA already exists at CVS pharmacy, and it is highly recommended.
Wolf-Dog, the fish don't create their own DHA and EPA, they get it from plankton, which is why the wild salmon are generally healthier to eat. Unless you're introducing plankton genes into the fish, I suppose, as they are genetically engineered.
I think this is a great candidate for genetically engineering gut bacteria, to transform fats in our diet into DHA and EPA.