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GM salmon moves closer to US dinner tables after FDA thumbs up
Published:  24 December, 2012

HOPES that AquaBounty Technologies will receive the all clear to commercially market and sell its genetically modified salmon rose at the weekend after the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued a statement saying the development was unlikely to harm the environment.

Based in Massachusetts, this company has invested heavily in this product, known as AquaAdvantage Salmon, which grows twice as fast as ordinary salmon - farmed or otherwise - and believes it could eventually make a major contribution towards helping to feed a hungry world.
However, delays in receiving final Government approval to put the fish in seafood stores and supermarkets has createdcash flow problems for AquaBounty which recently received $500,000 in bridging finance from one of its shareholders, the Intrexon Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company which has also put in an offer for AquaBounty. But some of the directors are holding out against this believing that once AquaBounty receives full FDA clearance, the financial fortunes of the company will soar. They feel AquaBounty's best interests are best served by continuing as a publicly traded company.
The FDA said in a statement that its environmental assessment of the AquaAdvantage salmon that the fish "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States". The FDA also said the fish is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon, an aspect which has brought opposition from US senators and environmentalists.
The FDA will now take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before giving final approval. Clearly AquaBounty, having invested so much time and money, is keen to get its fish to the market place. When that happens it will be the first GM fish protein to be approved for human consumption and it will also give hope to other companies experimenting with GM animal and marine based foods.

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