FDA says fast-growing fish would not harm nature (Update)

Dec 21, 2012

U.S. government health regulators say a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as normal is unlikely to harm the environment, clearing the way for the first approval of a scientifically engineered animal for human consumption.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday released its environmental assessment of the AquaAdvantage salmon, a faster-growing fish which has been subject to a contentious, yearslong debate at the agency. The document concludes that the fish "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States." Regulators also said that the fish is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon, a key concern for environmental activists.

The FDA will take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before making it final.

The FDA said more than two years ago that the fish appears to be safe to eat, but the agency had taken no public action since then. Executives for the company behind the fish, Aquabounty, speculated that the government was delaying action on their application due to push-back from groups who oppose genetically modified food animals.

Experts view the release of the environmental report as the final step before approval.

"We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process," AquaBounty said in a statement.

If FDA regulators clear the salmon, as expected, it would be the first genetically altered animal approved for food anywhere in the world.

Critics call the modified salmon a "frankenfish." They worry that it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the natural salmon population if it escapes and breeds in the wild. Others believe breeding engineered animals is an ethical issue.

AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said the potential for escape is low. The FDA backed these assertions in documents released in 2010.

Since its founding in 1991, Aquabounty has burned through more than $67 million developing the fast-growing fish. According to its midyear financial report, the company had less than $1.5 million in cash and stock left. It has no other products in development.

Genetically engineered—or GE—animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. In GE animals, the DNA has been altered to produce a desirable trait.

The AquaAdvantage salmon has an added growth hormone from the Pacific Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an "on" switch for the hormone. Typical Atlantic salmon produce the growth hormone for only part of the year.

It is still unclear whether the public will have an appetite for the fish if it is approved. Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits—and profits—are huge, many people have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.

If the salmon are eventually approved for sale, consumers may not even know they are eating them. According to federal guidelines, the fish would not be labeled as genetically modified if the agency decides it has the same material makeup as conventional salmon. AquaBounty says that genetically modified salmon have the same flavor, texture, color and odor as the conventional fish, and the FDA so far has not shown any signs of disagreeing.

Wenonah Hauter, director of the advocacy group Food and Water Watch, said forgoing labeling not only ignores consumers' rights to know what they are eating, but also "is simply bad for business, as many will avoid purchasing any salmon for fear it is genetically engineered."

Hauter urged members of Congress to block the impending approval of the fish. Congressional opposition to the engineered fish has so far been led by members of the Alaska delegation, who see the modified salmon as a threat to the state's wild salmon industry.

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Lurker2358
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 21, 2012
AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said the potential for escape is low.


History of scientists management of genetic modification (and hybridization,) and foreign species is a very poor track record. Whether it's foreign fish, or africanized honey bees, or tallow trees, they always seem to find a way to get into the environment, either because somebody's lab assistant accidentally (or purposefully) releases them, or an egg/seed/pollen gets out, or whatever.

The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an "on" switch for the hormone. Typical Atlantic salmon produce the growth hormone for only part of the year.


We don't know what hormone modification does to food until it's tested over time.
Lurker2358
2.8 / 5 (9) Dec 21, 2012
We already eat too much food with modified hormones and anti-biotics as is.

What's next?

If this is allowed, catfish farmers will want to modify their catfish. Beef farmers will want to modify their cattle, etc.

Once that happens, we'll all be eating nearly 100% food from modified genetics and modified growth hormones, and who knows what will happen to us over time spans of decades or a lifetime.

We're still trying to figure out what causes cancers and how to stop them, and now we're going to flood the food market with foods with unnatural amounts of growth hormones and un-natural genes that humans have either never eaten, or never eaten in significant quantities.

How many more "side effects could include" warnings do we need?!
rc_yvr
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 21, 2012
"[...] is unlikely to harm..." They said the same about thalidomide.
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (18) Dec 21, 2012
Genetically modified grains and food animals are likely to make humans also genetically modified, since we are what we eat. Through a million years of eating what nature provides for our digestion and becoming well adapted (except for the folks with food allergies), we might be poisoning ourselves with such GM food products, all for the sake of foolish scientists/researchers who are so intent on preventing starvation and making a profit from it.

I consider profit from GM food products as ill-gotten gains and the food will most likely not taste as good as the original...similar to GM tomatoes and corn.

If the female GM salmon are, indeed, sterile or barren, and aren't able to procreate, then the fish might be used, short term, to feed starving people such as in Africa. I think that most Americans and Europeans who aren't too ignorant will avoid such GM food.

Too bad that the company has invested so much money into that one product. Foolish.
cantdrive85
3 / 5 (14) Dec 21, 2012
What can GMO's do? Genome disruption of course. The science of eugenics continues.
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 22, 2012
What if this creates a prion or some other form of horizontal gene transfer which mutates the human race, or one of our staple crops or livestock? Remember that beetle with the gut bacteria?

If they can do this, what's to stop them from mutating Great Whites into "Neo-Megalodon"? or worse, a "Mega-Bull Shark"?

What if they did this with dogs, or with existing big cats?

Oh yes, we'd have a dandy then. The 2000lbs mega-lion of doom.
ryggesogn2
2.8 / 5 (19) Dec 22, 2012
Left wing opposition to science:
"If, as FDA sources confirm, the scientific review is complete, the refusal to publish the draft EA in the Federal Register directly contradicts not only the president's directives, but also regulatory mandates ensuring the integrity of science at the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA, and OSTP, which is under the executive branch."
http://www.slate....bly.html
Anda
1.8 / 5 (9) Dec 22, 2012
Pandora's box...
Americans u think u own the world, the genes (patents), even u sell terrains in the moon.
And u wonder why the rest of the world doesn't like u.
Decadent empire... Let's see how the next one behaves (China).
Wolf358
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 22, 2012
A fish which grows twice as fast consumes nutrients twice as fast... and that fact has _no_ influence on the environment? It'll decimate other populations by over-competing for food.
Kill it now.
leDendrite
4 / 5 (6) Dec 22, 2012
Or we could get serious and just grow our meats in-vitro.
I want a mammoth burger.

http://phys.org/n...lab.html
Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 25, 2012
A fish which grows twice as fast consumes nutrients twice as fast...


No.

Presumably the growth hormone is making the body more efficient, therefore it builds more muscle and such with the same amount of nutrients.

It's different for every type of fish, but as I recall Bass supposedly need to eat a couple pounds of food to gain one ounce in body mass. I don't know what it is for Salmon, but it's probably a bad ratio.

If you could gain just a few percent in efficiency you'd double the growth rate. So for example, it might gain 2 ounces per pound of food, instead of 1 ounce per pound, and that would actually cut food costs in half.

It's not about making the fish eat more. It's about making it's body do more with what it already eats.

You can see how this could be "beneficial" to a company and to everyone if it was proven safe. However, I don't trust it just yet, at all.

Salmon is also used in pet food.

Imagine if humans start having growth defects, or pets...scary stuff.
Deadbolt
2 / 5 (4) Dec 26, 2012
Harm nature?

Nature's pretty resilient. Oh, individual species disappear all the time, but that's why we should be more worried about us.
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 26, 2012
As purely an aside I find it baffling that the same people who tend to understand the dangers and unpredictability inherent in situations the article describes feel they can fix something as complex as an entire society with just enough regulation and social engineering....
Lurker2358
2.1 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2012
As purely an aside I find it baffling that the same people who tend to understand the dangers and unpredictability inherent in situations the article describes feel they can fix something as complex as an entire society with just enough regulation and social engineering....


Government is regulation and social engineering, that's what the term implies.

Government is required because people left alone are evil, selfish, and generally do little else beside fight and kill one another. Government is an attempt to maintain some semblance of decency and order.

Anarchists believe everyone would be better off without a government, but they are wrong. That would be true only if all people were inherently good. Since all people are not inherently good, and evidence suggests most, if not all, people are actually inherently evil to at least some degree, then governments are required.

Governments can't change human nature, but they can regulate, deter, and punish; better than nothing...
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 26, 2012
Governments can't change human nature, but they can regulate, deter, and punish; better than nothing...


Quite the contrary. Sometimes "doing nothing" is better. Prohibition is an excellent example.

One doesn't have to be an anarchist to recognize the limitations, and unintended consequences of legislation.
ScooterG
2.8 / 5 (18) Dec 27, 2012
Here is a link to the Center For Food Safety. They are fighting the monsantos of the world. They could use any help we can offer:

http://www.center...pproval/
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 28, 2012
Yes, Monsanto is the Dr. Frankenstein of science. The FDA has, in the past, ignored warnings by independent researchers as to the long-range safety and efficacy of GM food seeds, insecticides manufactured by DuPont and other companies, and drugs such as the aforementioned Thalidomide.
The agenda is: create it, test it, mass-produce it, and sell it as expensively as the market will bear.

MY one main concern is that I, as a consumer, (and everyone else who are aware) will not have the option to avoid such GM foods by reading the labels and choosing a different brand If I prefer to eat organics aka natural foods. The labels tell how much of the ingredients are inside the can or package, the amount of salt, sugar, type of fats, etc., but it doesn't say if the fish or the grain, et al, is GM or organic and naturally grown. Fresh salmon is labeled as wild or farm-raised, but it will also need to be labeled as GM or natural. Enough people avoiding GM foods should cut Monsanto's profits.
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2012
Here is a link to the Center For Food Safety. They are fighting the monsantos of the world. They could use any help we can offer:

http://www.center...pproval/
ScooterG

Thanks for that link, Scooter. After reading that page, I urge EVERYONE to send a copy of the link to everyone they know, and urge them to send the link to as many other people as possible.
It's important to make as many people as possible aware of this coming atrocity and to DEMAND the labeling of such GE or GM foods as such, so that we don't ingest that garbage by accident.

Fast growing may mean abnormal cell growth...and what does abnormal cell growth sound like?

Cancer, anyone?
Modernmystic
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 28, 2012
Fast growing may mean abnormal cell growth...and what does abnormal cell growth sound like? Cancer, anyone?


Not that I'm not sympathetic and I do agree with the general principle of being cautious for GE our food and other species, however because something has abnormal cell growth doesn't mean that eating it will give you cancer.

Cancer isn't a virus, bacteria, or chemical problem. It's not transmissible that way.

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (23) Dec 28, 2012
Government is required because people left alone are evil, selfish, and generally do little else beside fight and kill one another.
Yeah I know most religionists do seem to be human-haters.
and evidence suggests most, if not all, people are actually inherently evil
No actually evidence suggests that we have been selected per the tribal dynamic. Those tribes with greater internal cohesion coupled with external animosity, would tend to prevail in intertribal conflict.

What you see as 'evil' is usually either the expression of animosity toward others who are perceived as extra-tribal enemies; or the result of damage and decay of the uniquely fragile human brain.

The tribal dynamic is the basis for all religions. They have only managed to extend this dynamic over many tribes, peoples, and regions. In this respect they spread as much animosity (evil) as altruism, against the other religions which are in turn doing the same thing.

IOW religions intensify evil.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (22) Dec 28, 2012
Cancer isn't a virus, bacteria, or chemical problem. It's not transmissible that way.
Cancer-causing viral and bacteriologic agents abound. Two of many examples; Human papillomavirus (HPV), and Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD).
Imagine if humans start having growth defects, or pets...scary stuff.
I'll say. Did you hear about the woman who gave birth to rabbits?
http://en.wikiped...ary_Toft
obama_socks
1.6 / 5 (13) Dec 28, 2012
Fast growing may mean abnormal cell growth...and what does abnormal cell growth sound like? Cancer, anyone?


Not that I'm not sympathetic and I do agree with the general principle of being cautious for GE our food and other species, however because something has abnormal cell growth doesn't mean that eating it will give you cancer.

Cancer isn't a virus, bacteria, or chemical problem. It's not transmissible that way.

-ModernMystic

The GE aka GM hasn't been tested long enough to determine what could happen after ingesting that "food" over a long period of time...like over a period of one or two generations.
They haven't tested it in pregnant women to see if it might affect the foetus or years later when the child enters puberty and beyond.
They haven't tested it to see if it has any effect on fertility in humans. The fish are supposedly unable to reproduce...and that might affect human fertility and hormonal production adversely.

obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2012
"The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed."

Gender manipulation too? If they are all female, how would they breed to replenish the "species"?
That "small percentage" that MIGHT be able to breed...how do they breed if they are all female? Are some of them male? Will they allow that "small percentage" to be both sexes so that they could mate and reproduce? That could become a contamination problem in natural salmon.

There are too many unsettling aspects to this...especially the part that omits any kind.of labeling (warning) of the product as to it being GE.

I don't trust this AquaAdvantage company, their methods., and their rush to get it into the market. And I don't like all the hush hush secrecy that will eliminate the ability to opt out of eating the stuff if it's identified by labeling it as GE and GM. I am also losing faith in the FDA as they don't seem to have our best interests in mind.

Obama approves this?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (22) Dec 29, 2012
Gender manipulation too? If they are all female, how would they breed to replenish the "species"?
That "small percentage" that MIGHT be able to breed...how do they breed if they are all female? Are some of them male? Will they allow that "small percentage" to be both sexes so that they could mate and reproduce? That could become a contamination problem in natural salmon.
Oh my gosh pussytard perhaps they did not consider this. Perhaps they have unwittingly unleashed 'zero growth' upon the fish world and soon there will BE no more fish.

Maybe you should email them so they can have a good laugh as well you moron.
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 29, 2012
Still after me, Blotto? You haven't found a cure to help your retardation since you are still talking about zero growth. I explained to you repeatedly that you and I were both right as to zero population growth, but you choose to reject my version of it just so that you can pretend to know everything about everything while you ruin all the threads for everyone wherever you find me by being off-topic. You insult the other commenters with your display of hostility in a science website.
Everyone knows now how you operate and that you use your sock puppets like a cudgel against those who are a threat to your own personal opinions.
But that's fine with me and all the others who you attempt to intimidate with your moronic accusations. We laugh at your dumbass efforts to rid yourself of us.
Muahahahahahahhahahahaahahaa
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.9 / 5 (23) Dec 30, 2012
that you and I were both right as to zero population growth
Sorry you said that zero growth required zero births which is ignorant beyond words. And you STILL try to defend it because you STILL dont realize how ignorant it was.

Per what you posted here, it is obvious you dont consider scientists smart enough to avoid extincting fishies by rendering them sterile? WHAT STUPIDITY.
If they are all female, how would they breed to replenish the "species"?
-is what you said. Why wouldnt scientists KNOW this?? Why would anyone ASK such a STUPID QUESTION unless they consider absolutely anything that occurs to them worth saying?
But that's fine with me and all the others who you attempt to intimidate with your moronic accusations. We laugh at your dumbass efforts to rid yourself of us
There is no 'we' pussytard. You sit alone at the very bottom of the heap.

You are a fucking tree stump.
obama_socks
1.6 / 5 (13) Dec 30, 2012
that you and I were both right as to zero population growth
Sorry you said that zero growth required zero births which is ignorant beyond words. And you STILL try to defend it because you STILL dont realize how ignorant it was.
-Blotto

It is YOU who still refuse to comprehend Zero Population Growth due to YOUR ignorance.
In YOUR version of it, it is very obvious that a new baby cannot be allowed to be born UNTIL another person dies first. That means that in order to MAINTAIN "zero growth", a woman can only have a baby CONTINGENT ON THE DEATH OF SOMEONE ELSE. That means that 10 babies can ONLY BE BORN AFTER 10 children or adults DIE and the 10 new babies are only to REPLACE THE DEAD.
If all the adults live to be 100 years, then it will mean that no new babies will be allowed to be born UNTIL ALL those adults have died first.
Zero births are required while those people live.
I don't know if you have enough gray matter to understand this principle, you idiot.
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2012
If they are all female, how would they breed to replenish the "species"?
-is what you said. Why wouldnt scientists KNOW this?? Why would anyone ASK such a STUPID QUESTION unless -Blotto

Apparently, you missed this in the article: "The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed."
It says 'MIGHT still be able to breed'. This means that THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, but it is not definite. They will ALL be bred FEMALE. That means there will be NO MALES.
Once again…It means that out of all the FEMALE fish who are sterile, a very small percentage of the females MIGHT STILL BE ABLE TO BREED, you asshole. That means that the females who ARE able to breed, if they escape and get out, MIGHT be able to BREED with normal male salmon.
Theghostofotto1923's failure at reading comprehension of even the simplest sentences continues to prove its stupidity and insanity.
Blotto, others have complained about your inability to comprehend.
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (17) Dec 30, 2012
But that's fine with me and all the others who you attempt to intimidate with your moronic accusations. We laugh at your dumbass efforts to rid yourself of us

There is no 'we' pussytard. You sit alone at the very bottom of the heap.

You are a fucking tree stump.
-Blotto

Your psychotic fixation on Pussycateyes, Estevan, me, and several other commenters, and your habit of talking to yourself while jumping back and forth between your Ghost persona and your FrankHerbert sock puppet in many threads are HIGHLY amusing to everyone. You argue at yourself as FrankHerbert with the pros and cons like a tennis ball going back and forth over the net.
It is SOOOO FUNNY to read…as everyone with any intelligence is aware of your game where you THINK that you are putting one over on other commenters who read your posts.
YOU NEED TO ASK YOUR SHRINK FOR STRONGER MEDICATION, BLOTTO
Muahahahahahahahah
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (24) Dec 31, 2012
to MAINTAIN "zero growth", a woman can only have a baby CONTINGENT ON THE DEATH OF SOMEONE ELSE. That means that 10 babies can ONLY BE BORN AFTER 10 children or adults DIE and the 10 new babies are only to REPLACE THE DEAD.
Uh thats typically how it works. People are dying all the time you stupidass.
'MIGHT still be able to breed'. This means that THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, but it is not definite
So pussytard, perhaps scientists and other people with grade school educations might consider other ways to inseminate fish and/or produce fertile eggs?

Like I say you always INSIST on spouting ignorance rather than trying to do even a little research. This is why I feel justified in calling you a lazy, lying, fucking imbecile.

You should ALWAYS assume that scientists (and grade school kids) know far more than you do about just about everything. And then, rather than posting your ignorance for the world to laugh at, ask yourself 'Why would they say this??'

And then look it up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (24) Dec 31, 2012
But I fear you wont do this because, as I say, you are without doubt a lazy, lying, fucking imbecile who thinks that every thought that jumps into her empty head, is worth posting in a few dozen posts rather than taking a few minutes to look it up.

This is what lazy, lying, fucking imbeciles do. And there is little chance that they can ever change their ways.

Ignorance is bliss and so you must be the st teresa of imbeciles.
Estevan57
2.1 / 5 (36) Dec 31, 2012
ObamaSocks - don't mind Otto, his obsession with zero growth comes from his pants!
obama_socks
1.5 / 5 (17) Dec 31, 2012
ObamaSocks - don't mind Otto, his obsession with zero growth comes from his pants!
-Estevan57

Yup...it is well established that Theghostofotto1923 aka FrankHerbert aka other sock puppets has no use for pussy, and this fact is proven every time Blotto uses the dysphemism "pussytard". Now IF I had a pussy, I would be playing with it all the time. But I have to wait until my girlfriend comes to my house so that I can play with hers. My other girlfriend wanted children even though I told her I'm too old to be a Dad again. So she doesn't come over anymore. My girlfriend now doesn't want anymore kids, even if she could have more, which she cannot. This is fine with both of us, as I don't have to put on those annoying condoms. Blotto seems to think that artificial insemination is used on the female sterile fish. The article does not mention artificial insemination at all...so obviously, Blotto is hallucinating again. That happens when a man has never had a good pussy. :D
ValeriaT
2 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2012
The farmed salmons are already threating the natural ecosystems with spreading of Lepeophtheirus salmonis parasite. GMO salmons already escaped into nature. It's said the fish are suffering from interbreeding with escaped domestic salmon, and, in some rivers, there's little likelihood of rescuing the species. The scientific report about this issue can be found here (you may want to read it from 88th page).
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.9 / 5 (21) Jan 01, 2013
If all the adults live to be 100 years, then it will mean that no new babies will be allowed to be born UNTIL ALL those adults have died first. Zero births are required while those people live.
So pussytard. If people wait 100 years to begin having children, who will be left to have children?
'MIGHT still be able to breed'. This means that THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, but it is not definite
So why do you think scientists would concoct fish that would disappear in a generation?

I really dont think you have thought these things through. Do you?
RitchieGuy01
1 / 5 (6) Jan 01, 2013
'MIGHT still be able to breed'. This means that THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, but it is not definite
So pussytard, perhaps scientists and other people with grade school educations might consider other ways to inseminate fish and/or produce fertile eggs?
GhostofOtto (my loverboy)

ahhhh. . .GhostofOtto. . .kiss kiss my love. No one else on physorg is as smart as U.
When are we gonna get together again at our fave motel darling. Remember all those nites we spent together in bed? It was pure heaven.
I have missed you so much. I see that you're going after other men and looking for some pussytard.
Why are you looking for pussy, darling? U KNOW you only love to suckee me. I thought we were suppose ta get married.
Those other men don't deserve you the way I do. You have my number. . .give me a call, my precious sweetums. "O"