Here Comes 'Frankenfish'

Genetically modified salmon clears FDA hurdle, likely to be approved soon

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 21, 2012 5:45 PM CST

(Newser) – Americans will likely be digging into the first meal from a genetically modified animal—a salmon—in about a year. The FDA has declared that salmon engineered by AquaBounty Technologies is safe to eat and poses no threat to the environment, reports the AP. The ruling makes it all but certain that the agency will grant final approval for the creature that critics call "Frankenfish," reports the New York Times.

Those who partake will be eating an Atlantic salmon that has a growth-hormone gene from Pacific Chinook salmon. Scientists also added a gene from a fish called the ocean pout that keeps the growth-hormone gene on constantly. The upshot is that these salmon get big in a fraction of the usual time. They will be raised in farms and all will be bred to be sterile females, though the AP says a small percentage might be able to breed. That has critics worried about what might happen if they escape. The FDA review was actually completed months ago, and the White House has been accused of delaying its release for political gain. Slate has an investigative piece on that angle.

This undated 2010 handout photo provided by AquaBounty Technologies shows two same-age salmon. Got a guess on which one is genetically modified?
This undated 2010 handout photo provided by AquaBounty Technologies shows two same-age salmon. Got a guess on which one is genetically modified?   (AP Photo/AquaBounty Technologies)
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