First GM animal declared safe to eat (Image: Barcroft USA/Getty Images)
Fast-growing salmon have cleared another hurdle in an Upstream battle to be the first Genetically Modified animal approved for human consumption. After a long and possibly politically motivated delay, federal regulators have released preliminary documents declaring the fish safe to eat and environmentally harmless.
Since 1995, a company called AquaBounty, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, has been seeking approval from the US government to sell its AquAdvantage fish. These Pacific salmon have been modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon, which causes them to grow twice as fast as normal fish.
Rather than releasing the fish Into The Wild, the company plans to engineer its Eggs in highly secure tanks in Canada, then ship them to Panama to mature. As a precaution, the fish are all female and contain three copies of each Chromosome rather than two, rendering them sterile.