To celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of our AquAdvantage Salmon for commercial production and consumption, we are posting a series of articles that have appeared over the past year. The following is an Opinion expressed by Christopher Labos, a Montreal doctor who writes about medicine and health issues.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given a green light to a genetically modified salmon, the first GMO animal ever submitted for regulatory approval. Some think this will lead to the salvation of humanity, and others to its downfall. I think it’s just a fish.
What happened is that biotech researchers mapped the genome of the Atlantic salmon and then made two modifications. First, they incorporated the growth hormone gene of the Chinook salmon into the Atlantic salmon genome. Then they turned on a promoter to keep the growth hormone gene turned on year round. Normally the growth hormone gene is turned off during the winter when food is scarce. The result is an Atlantic salmon that grows bigger and twice as quickly, maturing in two years as opposed to four.
But that the mere fact that this salmon was genetically modified has raised a storm of protest. People are scared of GMOs because, to a large extent, they don’t understand the technology, and they They see it as something new and scary. That’s ironic, because we’ve been genetically modifying our food for thousands of years. Read the article.