Interview with Ron Stotish at BIO

Recently, we announced that we were going to interview Ron Stotish, the President and CEO of AquaBounty, the company that has made a fast-growing genetically engineered salmon. If approved for sale in the United States, it would be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. Consequently, there have been a lot of questions about this fish, so we asked our readers to submit questions of their own to have them answered in the interview. The original plan was to do an email-based interview like we have done before, but when I heard that Ron was going to be at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention in Chicago, I realized it was a perfect opportunity to meet up and do the interview on camera.

So Tuesday, we sat down and I asked Ron about how the trait works, its safety, environmental issues, how the fish tastes, and his favorite salmon recipe. Enjoy!

It may interest you to know that the FDA comment period on the AquAdvantage Salmon is open until this Friday the 26th of April. If you would like to comment on their environmental assessment, you can do so on this link. Here are a few posts on the Biofortified Blog which have more information about it:

From the Forum:

I have asked Ron to come check on the comments to answer any other questions that may come up, but as the BIO convention is still going on this week, there may not be the time to have all of those questions answered in time for the FDA comment period to close. But I think we got to a lot of things in this interview – even some silly ones – that there should be enough to go off of! Besides, education and discussion will continue here long after the FDA finishes taking public comments.

If you do write some comments, whether on behalf of yourself or your cat, do let us know in the comments with a link!

Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He currently works as a public research geneticist in Madison, WI. His favorite produce might just be squash.

Posted in Talks & Interviews Tagged with: , , , , ,
2 comments on “Interview with Ron Stotish at BIO
  1. MaryM says:

    Heh. Ron’s sense of humor about the lawsuits was nice to see.

    And I’m glad to hear the statement about the approval hinging on the land-based system. I think that’s the biggest misconception I see about this salmon.

    Not about this interview–but I wanted to also mention this amusing situation:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/24/genetically-modified-salmon-aquabounty-panama-united-states

    It’s a strange arrangement; the non-GM fish farm also raises organic trout for the upmarket supermarket Whole Foods.

    That’s right. If you are going to complain about the environmental consequence you have to complain about Whole Foods organic as well.

    • I had to get that in there, that way the reader who stopped by with lots of questions about the salmon could get a question answered. :)

      Also, I noticed they were making claims about oxygen use, but as Ron pointed out, that is a property of triploid fish in general.

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