‘Politics, money and fear’ have kept GMO salmon out of American grocery stores

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AquaBounty salmon raised in land-based tanks. Credit: AquaBounty

AquaBounty Farms of Indiana is a land-based fish farm designed to raise the revolutionary AquAdvantage salmon. Scientists created the fish in the 1980s by inserting a Chinook salmon growth-hormone gene into an Atlantic salmon, adding a DNA sequence from an eel-like ocean pout to activate it. The result is an Atlantic salmon that grows to market size twice as fast as a conventional one.

After a tortuous 20-year regulatory journey, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the AquAdvantage salmon for human consumption in 2015, making it the first genetically modified animal ever to receive the distinction. For AquaBounty Technologies, based in Massachusetts, the approval was cause for celebration …. They purchased the Albany farm in 2017 hoping to make it a historic site: the birthplace of America’s first GMO food animal.

Related article:  Bacterial DNA found in gene-edited dairy cow could slow development of more CRISPR animals

The champagne, however, remained corked …. not all Americans were eager to embrace a genetically engineered fish. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose constituency includes that state’s $4 billion salmon industry, emerged as one of its most strident opponents.

That’s one of the most popular lines of arguments against the fish: What might happen if it escapes? …. The folks at AquaBounty think that’s absurd. At the behest of the FDA, they spent years making their Albany facility a maximum-security fish prison …. Additionally …. the FDA found the likelihood of the fish escaping and mating in the wild to be “negligibly small.”

Read full, original article: The World’s First GMO Fish Is Stranded In Albany, Indiana

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