26 Aug 2010:
First Genetically-Altered Fish
for Human Consumption Reviewed in U.S.
U.S. officials are reviewing an application for what would be the first genetically-engineered animal approved for human consumption
, an Atlantic salmon modified to grow at twice the rate of normal salmon. The Food and Drug Administration will consult experts and review scientific data to evaluate whether the so-called AqAdvantage salmon — reared by Boston-based AquaBounty Technologies
— is safe for humans, poses any environmental threats, or should be labeled as genetically modified. Scientists and environmentalists say the final decision, which is expected in less than a year, could either open the door to numerous genetically modified animals raised for consumption or undercut the profitability and research opportunities within the nascent industry. The process involves taking a growth hormone gene from a chinook salmon, merging it with a control DNA sequence from the eel-like ocean pout, and injecting the gene into the eggs of Atlantic salmon. While the growth hormone gene is similar to the Atlantic salmon's, the ocean pout control sequence directs the gene to produce hormone year-round rather than just in the summer.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.