GM meat in development but politics, consumer concerns pose high hurdles

| | June 20, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

There are no genetically engineered animals sold for human consumption right now. The only candidate that’s anywhere close, AquaBounty’s fast-growing GM salmon, seems to have stalled in its approval process, in spite of positive scientific reviews finding AquaBounty fish safe to eat and safe for the environment. As you might guess, the lack of genetically modified meat on the market isn’t because of a lack of technology. It’s because of politics—GM foods are deeply unpopular, and GM food animals especially so.

There are many labs around the world working on making animals that are engineered to grow faster, resist disease, or provide people with extra nutrients. Research projects underway include goats whose milk is designed to prevent deadly diarrhea in children and chickens in which bird flu viruses don’t reproduce. In spite of public opposition and a lack of funding, GM meat research has continued to advance.

One major trend: Scientists have developed incredibly precise techniques for genetic engineering. For example, they’re now able to change just one base pair in an animal’s DNA code—one pair of letters in an animal that has billions of such pairs. Needle, haystack, etc., etc.

Read the full, original story: How Soon Might We Have Genetically Modified Meat?

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