The AquAdvantage salmon has captured the attention of the news, politicians, scientists, and activists, and now you have a chance to learn more about it – directly from the people who developed it. AquaBounty Technologies developed the genetically engineered Atlantic salmon by inserting a salmon growth hormone gene with a promoter from ocean pout that causes the salmon to produce growth hormone year-round. This results in a fish that grows to full size in about half the time of wild salmon.
For an excellent backgrounder on the AquAdvantage Salmon, see this article by Anastasia Bodnar.
AquaBounty Technologies is currently seeking FDA approval for producing the salmon to sell in the United States. This has attracted the attention of competing markets, such as the Alaskan salmon fisheries and their representatives in government, as well as various anti-genetic engineering organizations such as Food and Water Watch and the Center for Food Safety. If approved, the AquaAdvantage salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption.
The FDA has released its draft environmental assessment, stating that their preliminary finding is that the AquAdvantage Salmon will have no significant impact on the environment. Public comments are being accepted until February 25th. There are a lot of competing claims about these fish, and some have made up their minds about it, however, you now have an opportunity to have your questions about it answered by the developers directly.
I talked on the phone with the CEO of AquaBounty, Ron Stotish, Ph.D., and he is willing to participate in a discussion right here on the Biofortified Blog, and answer your questions about it. If you have aching concerns, curious questions about intimate scientific details, or want to hear about their future plans with these fish, put your questions in the comments below. In a few days, we will assemble the most thoughtful and interesting questions and send them to AquaBounty and he and his team will answer them here on the blog, and then stick around for the discussion.
So, what do you want to know about AquAdvantage Salmon?