World’s First Genetically Engineered Food Approved By FDA

World’s First Genetically Engineered Food Approved By FDA

In Aug 2017, genetically engineered salmon finally reached the dinner table in Canada. AquaBounty Technologies took more than 25 years to get to this point. The American company engineered the Atlantic salmon to reach market size in roughly half the time of about 18 months.

The genetically modified salmon was created by NUS professor Hew Choy Leong in 1989. He used a growth-hormone gene from Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), along with genetic regulatory elements from a third species, the ocean pout (Zoarces americanus). The genetic modifications enable the salmon to produce a continuous low level of growth hormone. He soon formed AquaBounty with investors, got it listed and left the company in 1999 to return to NUS. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the salmon for consumption in Nov 2015 but environment activists sued the FDA in an attempt to overturn its salmon decision. AquaBounty raised the fish in tanks in a small facility in Panama and another in Indiana, USA, the latter still awaiting the nod from US regulators to begin production. 

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