Regulatory delays and ‘Jurassic Park’ may have ruined prospects for AquaBounty GE salmon

The Maynard-based biotech company AquaBounty has been working to get a genetically altered salmon that grows faster than conventional, Atlantic salmon approved for sale in the U.S. for more than two decades. But while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has inspected the company’s farming sites in Panama and Prince Edward Island, convened committees to review how safe the fish is to eat, and consulted with environmental agencies, it has not said if or when it will ever approve the fish for sale.

The endless delays have given activist groups in just the last few months the chance to publicize a growing list of grocery store chains — including Kroger, Safeway, Meijer and Trader Joe’s — which they say have vowed not to sell the fish if it ever does get approved, cutting off the presumed eventual source of revenue for the beleaguered company.

Activists are raising the objection that if fast-growing, genetically-altered salmon escape into the wild, they could breed with and potentially take over the salmon population as an invasive species.

That line of argument has relied heavily on – implicitly or explicitly – the “lessons” learned from the fictional 1993 Steven Spielberg movie, “Jurassic Park.” That movie about a genetic experiment gone wrong — which coincidentally came out two years before AquaBounty first applied for approval to the FDA ­— has been at the center of the environmental arguments that have blocked AquaBounty’s plans for two decades.

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In the end, it doesn’t matter that the FDA has already visited and approved the breeding sites, and seems to have given all but the final OK to the company’s business plan. The premise of the movie (and the book by Michael Crichton on which it is based) has become so ingrained that for many people, the idea of any for-profit company planning to create genetically engineered animals is too fraught with peril to even consider.

Read the full, original article: How Steven Spielberg may have ruined AquaBounty’s plan to sell GE salmon

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