The world’s first genetically modified fish farm is a subsidiary of Intrexon, a $2.2bn company headed by Randal Kirk, a self-made billionaire. Kirk…believes Intrexon has a chance to become “one of the great companies of the world”.
“These are products of technology, not government decisions or social policy making,” said Kirk at the 2016 World Food Prize event. The meeting is sponsored by the world’s largest agribusiness companies, such as Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland. Kirk called “technophobia” his company’s “chief impediment”.
“The debate – supposed debate, the faux debate, if you will – around the adoption of technology frequently takes odd paths. One will receive questions like, ‘Uh, GMO, gee, how do you feel about the ethics of that?’” he said, posing a mock question. “Ethics – I’m sorry, I did study ethics.
“The idea of simply masking fear by calling it ethics is absurd,” he said.
In addition to AquaBounty, Kirk’s companies make apples that don’t brown (Arctic apples); mosquitoes designed to die (through its subsidiary Oxitec); and clones of pets or livestock (Viagen). The organization is working on peaches resistant to plum pox, fast-growing tilapia and a cure for cancer.
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