Clarified: What does "genetically modified" salmon mean?
September 20th, 2010
04:00 AM ET
Share this on:

Photo: AquAdvantage® Salmon in the background; a non-GMO Atlantic salmon of the same age in the foreground.

In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology we're attempting to do the same.

The United States' Food and Drug Administration is in the midst of public hearings to determine if it will approve AquaBounty Technologies' application for fish spawned from genetically engineered salmon eggs to be allowed for use as food. These "AquAdvantage® Salmon" grow into full-sized fish in half the time that it would take a regular salmon, and if approved, would become the first "transgenic" or genetically engineered animals to be approved for human consumption.

It's a deeply fraught issue for both fans and foes of the technology, but stripping politics and propriety aside, here's what "genetically modified" actually means in the context of fish farming.

Genetic engineering entails introducing desirable traits of one living being into another, using recombinant DNA , or rDNA technology. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is made up of two strands of nucleotides, twisted around each other in a double helix at the nucleus of a cell. The order of the nucleotides determines hereditary characteristics. More succinctly, it's genes.

Before now, genetic engineering has been used widely in agriculture to make crops resistant to pests and herbicides, in the development of microbes to produce pharmaceuticals for human and animal use, and in food to produce microorganisms used in baking, brewing and cheesemaking. While various organizations have been working to develop genetically modified animals, such as the University of Guelph's "Enviropig" - which more easily digests plant phosphorous, thus excreting less of it into the environment - AquAdvantage® Salmon would be the first to be approved by the FDA for use as food.

The fish's rapid growth will be boosted by the injection of a combination of a growth gene (GH-coding sequences) from the Pacific Chinook salmon and genetic material (the AFP gene) from the ocean pout - a large, eel-like fish - into the fertilized eggs of Atlantic salmon, making the recombined DNA present in cells throughout the body of the fish. The Chinook gene promotes the growth to market size, and the pout gene allows the fish to grow in the winter as well as the summer.

AquaBounty Technologies claims the resultant fish are reproductively sterile due to another genetic alteration - triploidy - that eliminates the possibility of interbreeding amongst themselves or with other native breeds, while maintaining protection over intellectual property. The company will only sell female eggs and raise the fish within contained, inland systems. However, despite these assurances, the FDA indicates that up to 5% of the eggs may indeed be fertile, and the company's claims in this regard are "potentially misleading."

This analysis is entirely new ground for the FDA, and their Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee is employing the regulations they would to evaluate veterinary pharmaceuticals, rather those used for than food safety. According to Section 5 of the group's overview of this engineered Atlantic salmon, "That rDNA construct meets the definition of a 'drug' under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" as "an article intended to alter the structure or function of the body of man or animal."

Previously - What does "sustainable seafood" mean?

Catch up on all of Eatocracy's GMO coverage.

Posted by:
Filed under: Clarified • Environment • FDA • Fishing • Food Politics • Food Science • GMO • News • Ocean • Salmon • Sustainability

soundoff (1,111 Responses)
  1. jack

    while the worlds population continues to increase the land needed to grow plants and harvest animals decreases. This is the only way to keep food plentiful throughout the 21st century,

    September 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • carlie

      already refuted.

      September 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  2. Carroll E. Gant, JR.

    What are people so scared of? If the FDA approves it, it's O.K. for me! Those who run scared on false info are crazy here for nothing. But what if these fish get out and some reproduce in the ocean? A new fish....

    September 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Shannon

      False info? Really?
      Sounds like you have some reading to do.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      "If the FDA approves it, it's O.K. for me! " O_o

      September 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  3. Whozitwhatzit

    Didn't we go through this with Growth Hormones in milk? At first they wouldn't even label which milk had it. Now at least you can find out which suppliers allow it in the cows. And now we have girl children developing at age 7. We were told it wouldn't effect people and would supply more milk at lower costs to the consumer. Also, we are now finding out that farmed salmon are sometimes gene mixing with wild salmon and affecting the full gene pool. We know that eventually some of the same thing will occur with these genetically altered fish, as well, and we will have changed our ability to even choose eventually. Just leave well enough alone and start caring about our environment and fishing limits and we will be able to build up fish supplies naturally again.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • McCluck

      "We know that eventually some of the same thing will occur with these genetically altered fish, as well"

      We attack the people who make scientific discoveries when we should be attacking our regulations. We most certainly do not KNOW that this will happen. Why cant we have scientific discoveries and prevent the problems too? Because we dont complain enouph as a population to get politicians to do anything.

      Lets regulate carefully and stay in control. To stop progress in science is a terrible idea when we can have control and scientific benafit at the same time.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  4. The Truth

    So they mixed the genes of two species of salmon together and added some from a pout. We have been doing this to animals for hundreds if not thousands of years. It just now the process is quicker and can tailor the results better than just having different species interbreed. Its not like their pumping these fish full of chemicals to get them to grow. We eat these 3 different types of fish so our bodies are ingesting this genetic makeup already. The only question is combining these naturally occuring genes into one fish have any harmful side effects. Lets wait and see what the FDA finds. The only real question is were do we draw the line in altering nature. Now before you say no, you have to realize nature alters itself all the time and nature does not always get it right.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • carlie

      no we have not been adding eel genes to salmon genes for thousands of years. But I know you'll just ignore this and continue with the erroneous assumption.

      September 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  5. Chris

    Almost all food we eat is genetically modified and has been for hundreds if not thousands of years. The only thing that is different now from selecting the breeding pairs of cattle or cross pollination of select plants is the power of the tools.

    With the added power of the tools, much more careful scrutiny is certainly needed, but most people need to understand that we've been making genetic freaks for both agricultural purposes as well as pure entertainment purposes for thousands of years. Look at all of the miniature dog breeds out there and compare those to their wild ancestors...

    September 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      This is nto the same thing as selective breeding! As for dog you think Corgis were created by inserting a dachshund gene into Collie DNA in a petrie dish and then injecting it on a virus into an egg and implanting it into a dog? That's how "natural" this is.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
      • carlie

        I'm starting to think there is NO point to introducing logic to anyone who equates GM with natural selection or breeding. They're warped ideas have been restated over and over here even with the obvious definitions being plastered all over the place in response.

        September 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  6. OrneryJoe

    Humanoids from the Deep...tastes just like chicken (a mutated, seven foot tall chicken, that is)

    September 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  7. Byrd

    What are genetically enhanced foods? They're crap. And as these genetically modified fish make it into the food chain, as always occurs, then they alter the base DNA permanently, which will have what kind of effects on future generations of both fish and humans? And that's the point: No one knows, but these Frankenscientists are apparently willing to take the risk to make a few bucks. Besides, they'll all be dead long before our great grandchildren, and theirs, start growing gills and snacking on fresh worms.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  8. SirReal

    You pussies! Just eat the fish and enjoy...

    September 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Jerry

      now thats keeping it real!

      September 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • DaveChappelle

      Keeping it real!

      September 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Arick

    The genetically modified fish will turn your children into deep ones (fish people) and make them start worshiping the dread god Cthulhu. For the love of Jeebus and Zeus we must prevent this scourge from mutating our crotch fruit.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Ken

    This is just another excuse for big corporations to avoid cleaning up the environment so that the natural species can return to fishable levels. Now that they can grow fish in tanks, who the heck needs the Ocean.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • MetsFan17

      If you believe that sustainable levels of fish are possible with an exploding human population, you really need to get a clue.

      September 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  11. Horny Canadian

    The newest poll in CNN asks if I would eat "Genetically Modified Salmon" or GMS... Of course, I would... I would f uck a GMS if possible... why not?

    September 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Jerry

    if you have eaten of the food on this list, you have eaten GM food.
    Maize (corn)
    Oilseed rape (canola)

    Good luck trying to stay away from GM foods, we've been eating them for years and thats just a short list.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • JD

      I’ve somehow avoided it for years and years. You make it sound like we have no choice, silly! There is always a choice.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
      • Sean

        So i suppose you don't eat potato chips, or corn, of anything with corn syrup, which is to say anything sweet, or anything with soy, or cereal, or bread or any number of foods. I suppose you just grow all of your own food and don't step foot in a grocery store.

        September 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  13. Jerry

    We all eat modified foods all the time. Most the fruit we eat today didn't exist naturally on earth. If you think you can stay away from GM foods your insane. You've been eating GM foods for years and haven't even known it.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  14. ManBoobs

    The sad sad truth even if the FDA labels it GM Super Salmon or whatever and says it is known it may be a carcinogen or any health problems if it tastes good Americans will eat it and eat it again....Look around do you really think Americans care what they put in their body?If it tastes like a Big Mac or a Whopper it will sell and sell well.............Obesity is out of control and morbid obesity is getting there.Now look at Oprah is she overweight, obese or morbidly obese?I think there is a species called Frankenfish already

    September 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Lexi

      I am 19 years old and I weigh 250 pounds..I am going to get gastric by-pass and a boob job with the new healthcare plan.WOO-HOO

      September 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  15. MrsFizzy

    It doesn't sound as if this "clarification" has done much clarifying for some people...on either side of the argument!

    September 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  16. Kimo

    I'm not worried about eating genetically modified food but I am worried about it's affect on the natural environment. You would not use genetic engineering to produce something that you could do by selective breeding. For example, you could not introduce human genes into a sheep (no matter how much some farm boys may try) but you can do that with genetic engineering. The consequences are unpredictible and anyone who says otherwise has a vested interest. You do not know what would happen if and when genetically engineered fish get into the ecosystem: maybe nothing, or maybe they will cause the extinction of some other species of fish. Who knows? It's like when the Aussies introducied cane toads to eat bugs and now they are overrun with poisonous toads, or when Hawaiian farmers brought in mongooses to eat rats, which they did not do, but they did kill indiginous birds. There are dozens of these incidents where an animal was brought in for one purpose and caused the extinction of another species or simply became an uncontrollable pest. If we could not predict the affect of introducing animals that were genetically modified what makes anyone think they can do better with ones that were?

    September 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  17. Mr. Pink

    It's bad enough that companies like Monsanto own the food that is grown by farmers. If companies can own animal species as well there will be big time problems for the general population.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  18. aubrie

    So.... as a result of the residue left in the fish, are we going to grow bigger boobs, bigger ears, bigger feet or bigger cancerous tumors?

    September 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Well, FDA's approach is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" I guess we'll find out! :)

      September 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  19. BertD

    After all the recalled decisions the FDA has done in the last decade, the use of hormones/steroids on chicken and cattle, the latest reports of children developing at an earlier age than previous generations, breast cancer becomming more prevalent, all this considered you would think that these scientist and the FDA would get a clue! I think they should direct their energies more towards cures than playing god with our food supply.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  20. Pedro

    The real question here (besides being healthy food) is as soon as these animals reproduce with untouched salmons will they become property of the company? We see the same in seeds and grains were farmers are now forbid to farm because "free" seeds interbred with the companies seeds and now about 85 to 90 percent of the seeds planted are company owned and WILL sue farmers whom do not have a permit to use the seed. This is sad how we want to own everything and anything....even seeds.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bree

      I believe so and that's what I'm worried about too. Seems like the beginnings of an apocalyptic future, where all living creatures are owned by a company, even humans. We'll have serial numbers on our foreheads and are sold into slavery by the corporations. These are the subtle beginnings... They did it, they patented life now. How could humans say they OWN anything? We're at a very unique time in the world. We are manipulating DNA that took billions of years to evolve, then saying we own it.

      The end is near.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  21. El Kababa

    All of you from a scientific background are blind to the real issue. The issue is not the ability of the scientific method to produce really useful things that are not found in nature, like iPods, corn, and automobiles.

    The issue is fake science. Corporations fake scientific results, conceal negative results, conceal and destroy defective animals, hire scientists who are known to produce user-friendly experiments whose results are reliably favorable, and conceal product defects.

    I trust the scientific method to produce a reliable description of the phenomenon under study over time. I do not trust the corporations I deal with, such as my employer and every other corporation I do business with. The more I know them, the more I read about them, and the more I learn from the relatively few corporate scandals that become public knowledge, the less I trust them.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • carlie

      I think CHOICE is the most important issue of all.
      There has got to be some shady reason why all these proponents want to take away our choice to eat what we want.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Sarah

      The same could be said about politicians, oil companies, the military, oh, probably even Wal-Mart... If only the few bad apples didn't ruin it for everyone...

      September 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  22. Soylent Green

    Oh my God.....What is next.............

    September 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • BertD

      Soylent Green, how funny someone remembers that movie from that far back. That might be next if we don't get a handle on this.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  23. Don

    Just a few seeds (no pun intended) for thought. Before any GM crops can be sold or any claims made about them, they must gain government approval. This government approval requires reams and reams of data to be submitted by the developers. Say what you like about how the data was "tainted" or "made up" or whatever you like, the process is set and the rules are in place to avoid that. If you believe the conspiracy runs that deep, you may as well stop reading now, because there's no way to educate you.
    No such rules exist for anti-GMO claimants. According to Wikipedia, Organic Certification "is handled by state, non-profit and private agencies that have been approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)." Private agencies? you mean like... businesses? who might be out to make a profit? hmmmmm.
    As for many of the other arguments, I can propose another viable explanation... Maybe the reason more kids have autism is because they were also prone to die in infancy prior to our advances in medicine and FOOD QUALITY. Maybe the reason kids are physically developing earlier is because they are getting better quality food and NUTRITION and vitamin fortification and aren't suffering from tainted foods that killed children in this country for centuries. Maybe the reason more people are getting cancer is because they're living long enough. In spite of all of these terrible terrible things we're being told, since 1980:
    US Infant Mortality has dropped nearly in half. It's dropped nearly 4-fold since 1960. All in a fairly linear fashion.
    Life Expectancy in the US has risen by over 5 years. Also fairly linear.
    Cancer death rates are dropping in the US.

    Organic Foods didn't really get started in a widespread way in the US until around 1990. Death rates due to cancer have dropped slightly faster since then, infant mortality is dropping considerably more slowly and life expectancy gains are about the same. Sounds like a wash to me.

    But back to Salmon... If you're eating salmon caught from the ocean, there are potential mercury issues. If you're eating farmed salmon, they are not eating a diet natural to salmon, but rather pelleted food which may or may not contain fillers, preservatives, etc.

    Nice choice of words, Jules. Actually, our bodies ARE made to process crap. Our bodies get rid of crap they have no use for and eliminate it as... well... you get the idea.

    The bottom line is your food comes from SOMEWHERE and, like it or not, all you have to go on that it is what they claim it is and that it's safe is their word. Even if you grow your tomatoes at home, are you SURE they haven't been modified in some way? You're trusting the seed company that sold you those seeds to be telling the truth about their safety and history. To me, a GM crop with tons of data sounds safer than a conventional crop with none.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • JD

      Thanks, Don! I’ll shut the f up and go out an buy some GM corn and shove it down my gullet! You're an "expert", after all!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • BertD

      anything over a paragraph is just babble!

      September 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Don

      Thanks for your in-depth and scientific replies. You have shown me the error of my ways.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  24. Sarah

    Funny how something like this causes such an uproar from people who know nothing on the topic. Coming from someone with an Animal Science degree and who is attending veterinary school, genetically modified foods are no harm to us whatsoever. Any "harm" to the environment or other wild fish, corn, etc. occurs no more often from genetically modified animals/plants than those that are in nature. Cross breeding and cross pollination are unavoidable. If you're against that, good luck stopping the plants and animals that do it. If you're looking for someone to blame, I suppose you can blame Mendel for ever discovering such a thing. How irresponsible of him... And my, how irresponsible of us, the agriculture sector, for developing new ways to feed the billions of hungry mouths who don't enderstand where their food comes from...

    September 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
    • Laugh Out Loud

      The funny thing is what someone all ready mentioned.People oppose this Super-salmon or Frankenfish but "pound cheeseburgers."

      September 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
      • Sarah

        Very funny... and intriguing...that people would rather eat 2000+ calories and 35g of fat in a burger than risk the genes of a modified organism. Hahaha...

        September 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • JD

      so, you're an "expert" on genetic modification, right?

      September 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
      • Sarah

        Oh, most definitely not. But 4 years of undergrad and my veterinary education makes me just a bit more educated than most of the people in this uproar. Only trying to pass it on and hoping they take time to learn the real story being genetic modification.

        September 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • BertD

      Genetic modification? Isn't that what they did to O'Bamas ears?

      September 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
      • HoldenLitgo

        Nothing to add as usual from the right.

        September 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  25. MedicalStudent

    The fear of these products is fear from ignorance.

    There is no more danger from eating genetically modified food as there is eating food such as 99% of the chicken in the country that is filled with hormones and antibiotics, or the 99% of fruits and vegetables that are filled with pesticides.

    Genetic modification is a way to make for instance larger tomatoes that could feed more people while consuming less land

    or making genetic modifications to plants or animals that make them insusceptible to say...ecoli

    or for in this case, making the animals grow quicker.

    There is no danger. They aren't being pumped full of growth hormones. I'd be more worried about eating NATURAL salmon that IS FULL OF MERCURY (which, consuming large amounts of sushi and salmon in a short time is shown to cause mercury poisoning) than eating fish bred in captivity.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • JD

      okay then... if a medical student says so, we must obey! I love experts!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • carlie

      no danger right? ok medical student please do some research into HOW you genetically modify an organism. I mean method. Also please look into why genetically modifying patients has failed. I mean the introduction of the missing gene into the patient to recover from diseases like diabetes. If you really care to be informed, please look into it and get back to us.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
      • McCluck

        First off you imply that there is a danger without providing any evidence. From your earlier posts you will talk about the methods involved in making these changes and say that you use a viral vector or chemical treatment to insert the gene. Also you say a marker used for validating which cells were genetically altered would be used. So these chemicals and snippets of dna/rna may end up in the fish’s cells as well. What you failed to do is to provide evidence why these things can be detrimental to the humans that would eat the fish. Or are you just using the “nature” fallacy and saying that if its not natural its bad for us.

        How does this have anything to do with genetically modifying patients? Because scientists failed at treating patients with LOCAL genetic therapies if follows that the people who will eat these altered fish will have bad consequences? This does not follow from what I have heard you say. And if anything, it would only have an effect on the fish and not the humans eating the fish. With the background you claim, you should no that one gene inserted into a human to cure diabetes would shed NO LIGHT on the mechanisms involved in inserting completely different and unrelated genes into a fish.

        You will need to be more specific for me to follow your argument. I work in a molecular biology lab, I am genuinely interested but skeptical. Feel free to use big fancy words if you decide to continue.

        September 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
      • McCluck

        oops. allow me to make a little more sense of that previous post

        I said:
        "Because scientists failed at treating patients with LOCAL genetic therapies if follows that the people who will eat these altered fish will have bad consequences? "

        I meant to say:
        Because scientists failed at treating patients with genetic therapies it follows that the people who will eat these altered fish will have bad consequences?

        September 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
      • McCluck

        oops again.

        Substitute "know" for "no". I swear im not that stupid. I obviously like science better that english :)

        September 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
      • Sean

        well if you are talking about the viruses then you just need to stop while you're behind. I'm starting to get the feeling that you are staying that we're going to get viruses from genetically modified food even though there is no viral DNA left in said virus once the desired DNA has been introduced to it. You are not going to get sick from eating the DNA of an organism, you may however get sick for the environmental factors that affect that organism.

        September 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
      • carlie

        I am not implying that there is a danger. The original poster clearly stated that "there is no danger" without providing any evidence. Did you all attend the same debate class where you were taught to change the subject when your claims are refuted? I have made no claims whatsoever. I have only countered those who claim there is NO difference. I understand your homocentric point of view but NO DANGER also applies to the animals, (humans are animals too btw).
        You can't pretend that the only gene that is introduced is the gene of interest and expect me to swallow that as you would expect me to swallow this salmon.
        I am not interested in convincing anyone that they should make the same choice I am making in deciding not to eat this. But please stop trying to take away the choice, period. And please stop with the name calling, the superiority complexes, and the false allegations.
        Do you really think it's perfectly ok for you to ask someone to prove a negative when you have no evidence either to support your claims that this is perfectly 100% safe?

        September 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
      • McCluck

        "You can't pretend that the only gene that is introduced is the gene of interest and expect me to swallow that as you would expect me to swallow this salmon."

        Forgive me then. It's just easy to read statements like these and see how you are portraying the GE salmon in a bad light. One can only assume that the mocking statement made to the med student above when he said there were "no dangers" (you imply that there are dangers and he needs to do research) was talking about danger to humans, since the salmon are food and i didn't think we were worried about dangers to them. Also i asked you if it was the fish you were worried about in an earlier post and you responded with "I'm really just worried about my freedom of choice whether to eat this or not" contradicting yourself and implying you don't care about the fish. If i misread i am sorry but i stand by my interpretation of what you wrote as reasonable.

        September 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
      • MetsFan17


        If you don't understand why the situation is different between genetically modified organisms and genetically modified foods, then please do us all a favor and stop acting like you have insight here. Gene transfer experiments in humans have to use different methods than gene transfer methods in crops or other foods because with respect to the former they have tried to have transfer efficiencies that are MUCH higher than that needed for foods. Stated another way, viral vectors have been tried for gene therapy because they are generally much more efficient for transferring nucleic acids than other methods. If you are making transgenic crops, or mice, or fish, you don't care if the efficiency is suboptimal – those that fail either don't have the gene you want them to or, in some instances, they might die. If any particular salmon egg dies, who cares? But if little Johnny has SCID and needs an ADA gene, you have an entirely different series of concerns.

        September 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  26. ChristineODonnell

    Frankenfish and Super-salmon? The day is finally here so I can reveal my true self...Let me get the Coven back together again....
    Eye of Newt? Toad wart anyone? We meet at Midnight and sacrifice to the Prince Of Darkness.....

    September 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  27. Duncan

    Whether we want to eat it or not is irrelevant since the food industry has fought hard to remove any labeling that in any way lists the item as being engineered or modified. In the future, you will never know what has been done to the food unless you purposely purchase from someone who lists it as normal.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  28. HC21

    I figure if I keep eating salmon I'll end up eating genetically modified salmon some day. I'll probably eat it and not even know.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  29. Soren

    Put a label on it. That will ensure the price is low. The rich will pay the premium for the non-GMO food and the poor can eat the GMO food. Since I consider myself poor and have no care about eating GMO food, all the better.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  30. FattsMcgee

    Personal Responsibility? What is that? I prefer to blame someone else...who are we blaming today?........Its that darn FDA and SUPER-SALMON's Fault! Hold on.. I am at the drive-thru at Mickey D's! 10 BIG MACS........ yum-yum

    September 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  31. El Kababa

    The science of genetics is not the issue here. Agribusiness is the issue here.

    If we have learned anything from Enron, BP, Blackwater, Halliburton, Exxon, HP, and all the rest of the rogues' gallery of global corporations it is this: Unless a saintly federal regulator is holding a gun to the head of the CEO, every corporation will lie, cheat, steal, cook the books, bribe legislators, lie to inspectors, bribe inspectors, lie to consumers, lie to investors, buy pretty girls for influential friends, bribe the county commissioner for a zoning variance, deliver cheap asphalt when high quality asphalt was called for in the contract, conduct "stealth" recalls of defective products, and never, never, never, never tell the truth about anything to any audience. They deliver one message to consumers, another to investors, another to government, another to competitors, and another to suppliers.

    Global corporations are wild beasts to be tamed and put in harness. We have to forget that Libertarian/Ayn Rand/Gary Cooper romantic vision of the brilliant entrepreneur. It does not describe what we see happening in front of our eyes. We are so accustomed to corporate lying that we think it is unremarkable when the corporation always downplays problems. It never just tells the damn simple truth. They say the leak is only 5,000 gallons, knowing it is much more, but hoping to cover up the difference. They say there is no defect in the product, but finally they admit that a number of people have been killed and very reluctantly they order a recall. They admit the truth only when they are unable to cover up the reality.

    What I do NOT know about this genetic salmon is which tests were faked, which test animals were destroyed so no federal regulator could see them, which regulators were bribed to produce user-friendly reports, which critics were bought off, which scientists were selected for their purchasability rather than their scientific integrity. In fact, I will probably never know that. So I prefer not to eat this fish because I do not trust the industry that produces it to be competent or honest.

    We all know that product defects are routinely concealed from regulators and consumers. Toyota knew about its sticking gas pedal long before that knowledge became public. Arthur Anderson knew about Enrons illegal manipulation of energy prices in California and certainly Enron employees knew about it. I read daily of this or that corporation that agrees to pay a few million dollars in fines "without admitting any guilt" and that makes me think that they are guilty as hell.

    What I DO know about this Frankensalmon is that it will not be honestly labeled so that consumers can choose whether to eat it or not. It will be called "WILD ALASKAN-PACIFIC brand SALMON: from Mother Nature, with love, to you."

    September 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Duncan

      The trouble is.. most of the federal regulators are ex CEO's of the companies they are supposed to protect us from. The FDA is run by mostly ex CEO's of the food industry :(

      September 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
    • JD

      @ El Kababa – Love this!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  32. Tim

    This will be news when they can make it taste like a T-Bone......

    September 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • carlie

      Have you ever compared a real banana with the banana flavor put into some foods, mostly candies. A VERY poor substitute. I don't understand how some people can't tell the difference. Steak and steak flavor taste completely different to me.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  33. Logical Person

    In 1960 the Ford and Rockefeller Foundation establich Rice Research Institute in the Philippines for the purpose of developing a strain of rice that is resistant to deseases, increase the yeild and shorten time to maturity. They use all the technique from cross breeding to exposing seeds inside a nuclear reactor to alter the genes. The result a strain of rice called "MIRACLE RICE " which is what we are eating now.

    Philippine Fish farmer also learn selective breeding and using aquaculture raise a strain of shrimp we called "SUGPO" which is 5-10 times bigger than what we have in the United States market.

    My point, we have been eating modified rice and crustaceans we just did not know about it, but now everybody is running scared because it has a description "GENETICALLY MODIFIED" .

    Human are the only species that is over populating the earth, we have no natural enemies, we have not had a major war for the past 60 years to cut our population, our species are living longer, H1N1 or HIV failed to control our growth, and therefore we are multiplying exponentially. Unless we figure out a way to produce more food source within 100 years we will all starve.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • SoulCatcher

      I'm sure we'll find a way to solve that problem...Soylent Green is people!

      September 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  34. MarkInDallas

    Genetically modified fish present the best chance for creating a healthy and sustainable source of food for the future. Right now, our rivers, lakes and oceans are so polluted with mercury that it is literally toxic to eat too much seafood. I know someone who got mercury poisoning because of it. Fish that grow faster make the fish farm alternative much more attractive economically, and that is a huge benefit to all of us.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Jerry

      Good to see sane intelligent people still exist in the world.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  35. Micahel S

    I hate to tell you all this but without science intervening in food production most of us would be starving right now.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Micahel S

      Besides it can't possibly be More harmful than 90% of the crap we eat now.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  36. Jerry

    Please, this kind of science could end world hunger. I would eat it in an instant. If you eat twinkies you can eat this salmon. ppl will stick processed food that have no natural ingredients in them but not this fish? you ppl are nuts!

    September 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • carlie

      like the other GM crop ended world hunger right?

      September 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
      • Jerry

        you think one crop is going to end world hunger. The fact that you believed that shows your ignorance. It will take a whole lot more then just 1 crop to end world hunger. My point is that this KIND of science will lead to the end of world hunger. Nothing happens over night!

        September 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
      • MetsFan17

        The problem with world hunger is not with the crop itself. Make sure that you are arguing the right issue. The GMO crops would do better at reducing starvation than non-GMO crops would. Getting it growing in an affordable manner is an economic problem, not a scientific problem.

        September 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  37. qurgh

    To all those people who commented with a "oh no, it's genetically modified, we are all going to die" type comment, I say go learn some basic science.

    Human beings are genetically modified apes. Birds are genetically modified dinosaurs. Every child is a genetic modification of it's parents DNA. Yes, for those examples Nature was the one doing the modifications, but now we have learned by watching nature and trying stuff out for ourselves. Switching a few genes around doesn't suddenly make the animal poisonous (unless we added poison genes). They are simply switching a couple of genes to be the same as another couple of species of fish. It's not like they added elephant DNA. For all we know, long ago, a fish that was the precursor to the current salmon already had those genes but lost them because the natural ecosystem couldn't support fish of that size. Since we can raise them in captivity, we don't have to worry about changing the ecosystem.

    As long as the fish produces no chemicals that are harmful to life, then it'lll be fine to eat. It's still the same as any other living creature on the planet. The stomach acid inside us that helps break stuff down doesn't care about the order the DNA of the food we eat, it, like us, is just a big bag of chemicals.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • carlie

      shooting steroids into an animal does not equate to genetic modification. Steroids activate genes that are already present. Selective breeding does not equate to genetic modification. It only selects for desired mutations of genes already present. Natural selection does not equate to genetic modification as spontaneous mutations are the root cause. Genetic modification involves introducing a foreign gene from another organism or one created in the laboratory into another organism where it is not naturally found and would not naturally occur. So please refrain from this fallacious argument.

      You do know that natural selection also produces faulty genes that result in the decreased survivability of the organism don't you?

      September 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
      • qurgh

        It doesn't say they are shooting steroids. I never said they were shooting steroids... They added GH-coding sequences from the Pacific Chinook salmon and the AFP gene from the pout.

        Natural selection isn't just genetic modification, but the actions of the parents and their choice to mate is. By making that choice they are choosing to combine bits of each other's DNA to form a new set of DNA that did not previously exist.

        "Genetic modification involves introducing a foreign gene from another organism or one created in the laboratory into another organism where it is not naturally found and would not naturally occur. So please refrain from this fallacious argument."

        No, you are choosing to define genetic modification in it's most limited way to support your conservative view point. I am not. I define it as anything that modifies the genetics of a creature, be that by the hand of an intelligent creature, a tiny virus or some non-life based force. Enough radioactivity can cause genetic modifications. The wrong chemicals being absorbed by a fetus can cause genetic modifications. There are also large bits of human DNA that come from retro-viruses that managed to implant themselves in our DNA long ago ( I'd say that was genetic modification by nature itself. For all we know, that virus DNA is what caused us to evolve into intelligent beings.

        We, humans, are animals just like the fish we are modifying. If modifying the fish's DNA was such a heinous thing, we wouldn't be able to do it (the embryo wouldn't be viable). Nature has had a few billions years of shuffling DNA around this planet. We figured out how it works, and now we can try shuffling DNA, we've just figured out a better way to do it. We are learning to adapt the creatures around us, the tools nature has used to operate this planet, to better deal with us. The wondrous possibilities are endless. Imagine fish that eat hydrocarbons and store oil, or birds that breath CO2 and give off oxygen.

        DNA is the programming language of life and now we have a chance to code in it.

        September 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
      • carlie

        okay, so you want to create your own definition, fine. But don't think everyone is going to be okay with you forcing it on them and using that to support your argument. Fact remains the accepted definition (by Webster AND the scientific community of which I am a part) does not equal yours.

        September 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • McCluck

      im startign to think that carlie is really just worried about protecting the fish's health. What does this have to do with why we shouldnt genetically engineer salmon?

      September 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
      • carlie

        I'm really just worried about my freedom of choice whether to eat this or not.

        September 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  38. FattsMcgee

    Darn FDA! That Obama Healthcare better pay for my liposuction............I was forced to eat Mickey d's and Burger King because of this SUPER-SALMON!

    September 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • FattsMcgee

      or Gastric By-Pass.....Blame the government!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  39. JAK

    I realize that this is science and has been developed to "help humanity". However, the film JURASSIC PARK came to mind as I read this article.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • carlie

      it has not been developed to help humanity but to maximize profits. If you really believe this is going to solve world hunger please explain why GM corn and other crop has not solved world hunger and why Monsanto sues farmers for breach of copyright when their GM crop infest the farmers non modified corn.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm |

        I'm with you 100% on this Carlie.....It's not just about controlling's about controlling the food. Anyone who doesn't understand this, is blissfully ignorant. ......Open your eyes America!!!!

        September 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • Sean

      cloning dinosaurs = genetically modified salmon?

      September 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  40. blogmob

    the bias of this article is apparent immediately, in the definition of genetic engineering as the process of "introducing desirable traits of one living being into another." the biased word is "desirable." the genetic engineers may hope that the traits are "desirable" (or may not), but whether they are or not, or what other effects may ensue, is outside the objectivity of the journalism required for this article.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  41. Chris

    It doesn't matter what you do... you're gonna eat what some guy you don't know says is "safe". Organic.... modified... it's all the same, really. You don't know what EXACTLY is in it or what it is. We just take our best guess. There's so much we don't know about our own bodies, it will be centuries before we know exactly what this stuff is doing.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm |

    I'm enjoying the humor....but all of you really should watch 'FOOD INC. ......You'll see that there is more to this than just modifying these grains and animals for better food production.....

    September 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  43. JD

    How many people commenting on this article work for this company?

    September 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  44. sensible

    NEWS FLASH>>>>>>
    Cotton has been genetically modified ... so everybody rip off your clothes and burn them before we all get skin cancer!!!!!!

    September 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • OprahSaysSO

      WHAT????? BAN COTTON NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • JD


      September 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • JennyMac


      September 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • LizardCrowinSeniorBigDogMedicalSensualismWriter

      BREAKING NEWS*************************Cotton causes SKIN cancer!!!! DISEASE and AUTISM!!!! 3 reliable sources!!!!....Don't worry I will BLOG about it so you can become empowered!! BUY MY BOOK TODAY! before COTTON kills again!!!!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
      • sensible


        September 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • carlie

      a totally baseless argument since we do not EAT cotton. I don't know about you but I care far more about what goes into my mouth than what i wear on the outside.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
      • MrsFizzy

        Cottonseed oil, yes...

        September 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
      • sensible

        You shouldn't talk about what goes in your mouth.....
        it is making you stupid!

        September 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • Meryl

      COTTON nearly killed my child and caused my child's AUTISM........He is 85 percent recovered due to chelation therapy....Please pray for him....Cotton KILLS and causes AUTISM......God Bless

      September 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  45. John Lane

    There must be no rush to approve this. It should be fully studied. It should not come to market if there is ANY prospect of contaminating natural fish stocks. And at the VERY, VERY least, the GMO salmon MUST be labelled as being such, so that consumers will have the choice. I have the right to know if what is being sold is part eel and part salmon. If this is not done,

    September 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Good luck with all that... afraid you're living in the wrong place (USA) if you want ANY of that to happen!

      September 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  46. JD

    If this is approved, I’ll never eat salmon again!

    September 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • carlie

      I thought this too but I do like it so a better choice may be just to stock up on the real stuff right now before the GM stuff gets out there.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  47. CluelessJoe

    All I see is a fish......How do I see E-coli? What does it look like?

    September 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  48. Dick L

    First stop confusing selective breeding with genetic modification, because they are two separate things.

    Next label and test. Why shouldn't a compensated small group say 200 random people eat this fish as part of a health diet for 6 months before selling it to everyone.

    Or if 200 people is too complicated, feed it to rats first and see how well they do. You need to test and that is something the food companies do not do. I simply ask where are the numbers from the test where the salmon was fed to something for a few months. This test was never conducted.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
| Part of

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,974 other followers