Review: Fast growing fish may never wind up on your plate
Salmon that's been genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal could soon show up on your dinner plate. After weathering concerns about everything from the safety of humans eating the salmon to their impact on the environment, Aquabounty was poised to become the world's first company to sell fish whose DNA has been altered to speed up growth.
The Food and Drug Administration in 2010 concluded that Aquabounty's salmon was as safe to eat as the traditional variety. The agency also said that there's little chance that the salmon could escape and breed with wild fish, which could disrupt the fragile relationships between plants and animals in nature.
The FDA says it's still working on the final piece of its review, a report on the potential environmental impact of the salmon that must be published for comment before an approval can be issued. That means a final decision could be months, even years away. Aquabounty is the only U.S. company publicly seeking approval for a genetically modified animal that's raised to be eaten by humans.
And scientists worry that its experience with the FDA's lengthy review process could discourage other U.S. companies from investing in animal biotechnology, or the science of manipulating animal DNA to produce a desirable trait. The science behind genetic modification is not new. Biotech scientists say that genetic manipulation is a proven way to reduce disease and enrich plants and animals, raising productivity and increasing the global food supply.