WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) — Salmon genetically engineered to grow twice the normal rate could end up on dinner plates if U.S. regulators give the go-ahead, The New York Times reported.
The salmon would become the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption, capping a decade-long effort by the fast-growing fish’s developer, the Times said.
AquaBounty Technologies, based in Waltham, Mass., developed the salmon, which would be raised on fish farms. The genetically altered Atlantic salmon has a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon and a genetic “on-switch” from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon.
The company said salmon normally do not make growth hormone in cold weather but the Chinook salmon switch keeps production going all year, enabling the fish to grow to market size in 16-18 months instead of three years. Ultimately, though, it’s no bigger than a normal salmon.
AquaBounty, which is publicly traded in London, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had given its OK to five of the seven sets of data required to show the fish was safe for consumption and the environment, the Times said.
Ronald L. Stotish, AquaBounty’s chief executive, said it would take two or three years after FDA approval for the salmon to reach grocery store shelves.
The FDA confirmed it was reviewing the genetically engineered salmon but declined further comment, citing confidentiality rules.
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