In the News: GE Salmon Approved
Despite a lack of testing and widespread opposition, genetically engineered (GE) salmon took the final step towards becoming the first FDA-approved GE food animal. The Food and Drug Administration released its draft Environmental Assessment which concluded that the fish “will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States”, clearing the way for salmon that have been developed to grow at twice the usual salmon speed. Over 40 members of Congress and scientists at other federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, have also voiced strong opposition to GE salmon, citing the lack of scientific rigor and expertise at the FDA. AquaBounty, the biotech company that developed the frankenfish, says there’s little to no risk of fish escaping their growth pens and mating with wild salmon. Yet a team of Canadian scientists who observed the breeding behavior of AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon and wild salmon for two years, found that they can indeed mate. “It’s possible for genetic modification to enter wild populations through natural sexual reproduction,” Darek Moreau, a researcher in evolutionary ecology at Memorial University in Canada, told the Montreal Gazette. Although the researchers could not say what the evolutionary and ecological ramifications of their results could be, there are sure to be effects to the ecosystem with the introduction of these GE fish.