Would Genetically Modified Salmon Get FDA Approval?

GM Salmon

The Case Of Genetically Modified Atlantic Salmon
The scientists from Canada have conducted a study on the potential risks of transgenic salmon escaping into the wild. The new study has found that the genetically modified salmon can cross- breed with fishes that are closely related to the species. One such species capable of cross- breeding with transgenic salmon is the brown trout. The genetically modified fish will have genes engineered to make them grow quickly. The crossbreeding will pass on these engineered genes to the offspring. The biotech company AquaBounty, is creating the salmon and according to the company the risks are negligible as they are producing female sterile fishes and they would be kept in tanks built on land. The transgenic salmon will be the first genetically modified animal which will be approved for consumption by humans.

The Growth Of Hybrids
In natural conditions the salmon will occasionally produce offspring with brown trout

  • According to researchers in laboratory conditions the transgenic salmon produces the offspring with modified genes
  • The research team analyzed about 363 fishes and found that 40 % of the offspring carried modified genes
  • These young fishes were capable of easy development

Dr. Darek Moreau, from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada said that the transgenic hybrids grew much faster than the wild salmon, wild trout and wild-type hybrid.

Highlights Of Study
The researchers kept the fish in a stream created inside the laboratory. They observed that the hybrids were growing faster than genetically modified salmon and wild salmon. The study highlighted the ecological consequences of genetically modified salmon escaping into the wild. Though the chances of an escape and encounter with suitable brown trout are rare, the people regulating the genetically modified animals should be aware of the ecological problems arising from it. CEO of AquaBounty Technologies Inc, Ron Stotish cited the findings made by Peter Gal breath and Gary Thorgaard of Washington made in 1995 to confirm that the hybrids are sterile and these hybrids will not pose any major ecological imbalance. Moreover the company will be releasing sterile female fishes after specific tests. AquaBounty is harvesting eggs from genetically modified salmon which will grow to full size salmon in half the time than the wild salmon.

The Ethical Issues

It is a matter of debate whether combining genes of species are an unethical alteration. Modifying genes without exactly knowing the effects will cause suffering to the animal concerned and sometimes with other animals in the ecosystem. Many people are against using the animals just as commodities. The US Food and Drug Administration are yet to decide whether the transgenic salmon can go on sale in the United States. They have already declared that these genetically modified fishes will not have any significant impact on ecosystems. The consideration by FDA to approve the genetically modified is in its last stages and the researchers are optimistic that you will not have to wait more to get the streaked transgenic salmon on your table.