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The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

Posted December 02, 2015 1:51 PM by Quasar

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the sale of a genetically modified salmon known as AquAdvantage salmon to U.S. consumers. The fish was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, which first submitted data to the FDA twenty years ago. In 2010, the FDA determined that the fish was safe to eat and would not have a significant impact on the environment in the United States.

Many consumer and environmental groups have opposed the approval of the new salmon. The Center for Food Safety, a consumer advocacy organization, said it and other groups would file a lawsuit challenging the approval. More than 60 supermarket chains have already committed to not sell modified salmon, including Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Walmart and Publix have not yet commented on the fish. Red Lobster said it would not serve modified salmon.

The AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically modified version of Atlantic salmon engineered for rapid growth. It has an rDNA construct composed of the growth hormone from Chinook salmon controlled by a promoter from the eel-like fish known as an ocean pout. The promoter is a sequence of DNA that turns on the expression of the growth hormone gene, leading to increased growth rate in the AquAdvantage salmon.

According to the FDA's lengthy review of the fish, the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage salmon is comparable to that of unmodified farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Fish composition was equivalent in both overall measures (such as total protein and total fat) and detailed measures (including specific amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-6).

In addition, the FDA examined data on hormones in three groups of fish: unmodified Atlantic salmon from both an AquaBounty farm and a third party commercial farm, and the AquAdvantage salmon. No biologically relevant differences were found in a comparison of several key hormones (including estradiol, testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone, T3, T4 and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1)).

The risks of adverse environmental impacts were found to be insignificant due to multiple physical containment measures in place. In addition, the AquAdvantage fish must be produced as all-female, triploid fish, meaning they would be effectively sterile.

It will likely be at least two years before any AquAdvantage salmon reaches consumers because it takes about two years for the salmon to reach market size. Even then, the amount reaching the market will start off small because the approved production facility in Panama has the capacity to produce only 100 tons of fish per year compared to the 200,000 tons of Atlantic salmon that the U.S. imports each year.

Would you feel safe consuming AquAdvantage salmon?

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#1

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 2:05 PM

Get your hands off me you dirty stinking ape!

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#2

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 2:53 PM

Well all that are complaining are a little too late. They most likely have already ate some.

The same gene modification has been done on yeast. The yeast used in some ice cream brands. The antifreeze gene in ice cream to cause the water to to freeze in smaller crystals makes a smoother product. Used in a lot of ice milks or low fat ice cream.

I guess that didn't get as much media attention.

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#3

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 4:26 PM

No.

Feed it to Congress. It can be poured directly into the pork barrel from which they feed today.

In twenty years, when the same bottom feeding politicians are still feeding from it and have not grown gills, maybe I'll consider it.

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Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 6:34 PM

What could possibly go wrong?

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#5

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 7:13 PM

I have been buying farm raised Atlantic salmon in Chile from Sam's club. I don't understand why it is stated, "imported from Norway". I don't know if it is genetically modified, but it tastes good.

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#6

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 7:35 PM

I figure hatchery raised fish won't have as much mercury in it, so that could be beneficial. Not that I worry that much about mercury, I'm already as mad as a hatter.

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Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 10:52 PM

That's one of the good things about getting old, you can eat whatever you want, who cares....lol

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#8

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/02/2015 11:34 PM

Modified food . Modified on a genetic level . Sounds like something that should be studied for a very very long time . But the all mighty buck wins out over common sense everytime . However , we cast a " vote " everytime we spend a dollar . If we don't buy the stuff , that would put an end to it . But we won't be inconvenienced . If we want Salmon and the only Salmon available that day is the genetically altered one , we will say , oh what the hell , and buy it . And that's a vote to keep altering our food supply . Money , what a powerful instrument .

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Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/03/2015 12:14 AM

It's not money that is the powerful instrument, it is demand.

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#10

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/03/2015 7:34 AM

If it's safe, then require that the people who work at AquaBounty Technologies and at the FDA eat the salmon and feed it to their kids and grandkids.

If they're ok with it, I'd be ok with it.

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#11

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/03/2015 2:24 PM

Couldn't be much worse than the RoundUp Ready corn tacos, tamales, chips, grits, etc. I eat with great regularity, whether I know it or not. And then there is the stuff in and on most of the really great fresh veggies and fruit we are told to eat...raw. And beyond the anti-freeze in ice cream, about everything else that Big Pharma has devised shows up in milk.

We have the best government money can buy.

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#12

Re: The First Genetically Modified Animal to be Approved for American Consumption

12/04/2015 2:26 PM

What is it that would make genetically modified food unsafe? Would it make food toxic? Would it tempt cancer producing organisms? Hasn't chicken and turkey been genetically modified for years to produce large breast meat? Has it been proven that chicken and turkey has caused cancer or other diseases?

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