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August 7, 2017

GMO salmon caught in U.S. regulatory net, but Canadians have eaten 5 tons

  • Government
  • Agency
  • Science
  • Genetics/Genomics

The Washington Post – Genetically modified salmon have been approved for sale in the United States, but labeling complications have prevented them from coming to market. In Canada, however, according to a report released Friday by the company AquaBounty, five tons of genetically modified salmon filets have been sold so far.

Eric Hallerman, an expert in fisheries and fish genetics at Virginia Tech who is not affiliated with the company, predicts that we will see many more genetically modified fish and other animals on shelves around the world in the future.

The AquaBounty salmon, called AquAdvantage, is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon. In the wild, salmon produce the hormone only when the conditions are right for rapid growth. In the AquAdvantage salmon, a regulatory switch from an ocean pout gene makes the fish produce growth hormone all the time, so the AquAdvantage salmon grow rapidly throughout the year.

These fish, which are raised in fish farms, grow four to six times faster than other Atlantic salmon early in life, Hallerman said, and they reach market weight twice as fast. This shortens the total production time from three years to a year and a half and reduces the amount of feed they consume by 10 percent.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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