The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon becomes the first genetically engineered animal approved by the Food and Drug Administration for consumption in the U.S
AquAdvantage salmon, developed by AquaBounty Technologies, is a GMO strain of salmon that grows at twice that rate of a regular Atlantic salmon. A growth hormone-regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook salmon and a promoter from an ocean pout were added to the Atlantic’s 40,000 genes. These genes enable the AquAdvantage salmon to grow year-round instead of only during spring and summer. Through this modification the salmon grows to market size in 16 to 18 months rather than three years.
This new regulatory precedent could spell a sea-change in how animals are grown and developed for food. For nearly twenty years, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India and China among with dozens of other countries haveproduced and sold genetically modified plants to consumers. Genetically modified pigs and cows may soon follow. Jinsu Kim and his colleagues at Seoul National University have developed “double-muscle” pigs that produce twice as much muscle as a regular pig. In 2012, a New Zealand government-owned science company, AgResearch, engineered a cow that could produce a form of hypoallergenic milk. Meanwhile, lab grown meat is also becoming more feasible. Professor Mark Post and Peter Verstrate of Maastricht University, hope to have the world’s first lab-grown burger available on supermarket shelves within the next five years.
In a interview with the BBC Verstrate stated “I feel extremely excited about the prospect of this (lab grown meat) product being on sale. And I am confident that when it is offered as an alternative to meat that increasing numbers of people will find it hard not to buy our product for ethical reasons”.
Weather it is a new genetic variant of a traditional farm animal or a petri dish full of mussel- new forms of meat can certainly be expected on the menu in the near future.