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FDA Closer To Approving Biotech Salmon 204

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-what's-for-dinner dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a story about the possibility of genetically engineered salmon showing up on your table. "A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it. AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets a final go-ahead, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal - one whose genome has been altered - to be approved by the FDA."
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FDA Closer To Approving Biotech Salmon

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  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday December 24, 2012 @04:00PM (#42383365) Homepage Journal

    The very concept is just wrongful.

    Even assuming that the biotech livestock is not harmful (or, in the language of this "research", "is not likely to be harmful" - and there's a fucking standard: "not likely to be harmful" based upon the fact that we're trying to promote this business and not upon the fact that we have determined that it's safe to eat), even if it's not harmful, creating proprietary animals is a fucking horrible idea.

    Let's assume that there are no health risks (which I'm not prepared to assume, but go ahead) what fucking good can come from patented (or copyrighted?) organisms? Do the biggest corporations not yet have enough control over our lives that now they need to get money out of us for the "idea" of a fish? Or the "idea" of corn?

    I understand that there's a readership here that grew up on science fiction and believes that technology can never go wrong, a readership that is entirely prepared to skip over all these biotech salmon and go straight to space-food sticks and packets of squeeze-out, petroleum-based pudding.

    Don't be surprised when future generations look back on the first decades of the rise of biotech food in the same way we look back on putting radioactive paint on wristwatch hands and asbestos in home insulation and lead in house paint. Remember, those were seen as technological advances, too.

    But of course, we're so much more enlightened today that such failures of commercialized technology could never possibly go wrong.

  • by climb_no_fear (572210) on Monday December 24, 2012 @05:40PM (#42383967)
    The patented fish are diploid and fertile. Female triploid salmon are sterile and cannot cross-breed with wildtype stocks. They are produced by heat shock and other methods (they have to be produced, as they are sterile). The female triploids are produced from the diploids for production purposes, so that if they escape, they cannot reproduce. Triploids even occur naturally but rarely (0.6%) in natural salmon populations.

    However, several questions come to my mind:
    1.What if someone, sometime, accidentally releases the diploid GMO fish? These fish grow faster than the normal salmon and therefore might have introduce a selective advantage to the introduced genes, even if the original GMO fish are reportedly less fecund.
    2. Is the triploid production method 100% effective or might you have 0.1% diploids in there, capable of reproduction?
    3. Male triploid salmon do have gonads and are are potentially (even if at a very low rate) slightly fertile. How long until a male escapes? I know that the males appear obviously different than the females (I used to fish for salmon in Canada as a youth) nevertheless, I cite Murphy's Law ...

    A bit of reading for the interested:

    A simple, clear presentation:
    http://www.salmotrip.stir.ac.uk/downloads/SSPOpresentation.pdf [stir.ac.uk]

    More hardcore molecular biology:
    http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v104/n2/full/hdy2009108a.html [nature.com]

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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