AquaBounty Salmon

The Union of Concerned Scientists in their most recent newsletter states the Food and Drug Administration is about to approve genetically modified salmon engineered by AquaBounty Technologies for production and sale into the human food supply. The genetic modification according to the UCS involves the transfer of genes from an eel like fish (ocean pout) and one from another species of salmon ( a growth hormone gene). The GMO fish allegedly grow about twice as fast as a conventional salmon.

There is great risk on two fronts. There is almost certainty the GMO salmon will escape from captivity and reproduce with wild salmon. Given the size difference expected, there would also likely be a reproductive advantage for the GMO salmon. Studies at Purdue University have already demonstrated in laboratory research that a wild population could be wiped out in the course of several generations. This would be catastrophic.

Secondly, genetic engineering is very imprecise. The gene or genes transferred are microinjected by the thousands into fish eggs with the hope that they will become incorporated into the native DNA of the fish egg cell. The location of the insertion is not controlled. The results are totally unpredictable as to whether the cell DNA is damaged or changed in the process. It is like shooting craps. Along with the transferred gene is something called a “promoter” which is like an “on” switch. In this case it is ON full all the time. The promoter may affect other parts of the DNA. Proteins totally unknown by human bodies may result as well if other parts of the normal cell DNA are changed or damaged. Some changes may be detrimental to the cell or produce allergic reaction. No one knows and insufficient testing has taken place. And they expect us to eat these fish without questioning anything.

The FDA, USDA, and all other government food safety regulators have failed us. The only way to stop this if for the public to be informed and not take the risk of eating genetically modified salmon.

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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