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FDA Closer To Approving Biotech Salmon

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-what's-for-dinner dept.

Biotech 204

An anonymous reader writes with a story about the possibility of genetically engineered salmon showing up on your table. "A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it. AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets a final go-ahead, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal - one whose genome has been altered - to be approved by the FDA."

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"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (5, Insightful)

sugarmotor (621907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382711)

"... didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it" --- what kind of standard is that?

Then the article states "In a draft environmental assessment, the FDA affirmed earlier findings that the biotech salmon was not likely to be harmful. It said it would take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before making a final decision on approval."

So first poke a bit here and there, find no problems. Then ask the public if they have an idea what could go wrong !!??

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382755)

The very concept is just wrongful. It's already a species that doesn't do well farmed. You end up with an inferior product. Taking that a step further and introducing genetic meddling just seems silly.

Compound one bit of stupidity with another...

What happens when the patented fish contaminates the wild stock? Will fishermen be subject to the Monsanto effect? Will fishermen need a patent license to fish? Will fish farmers be stuck not able to breed their own fish?

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (2, Insightful)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383141)

FUD

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383431)

Not FUD. Monsanto sues farmers who's corn gets cross pollinated by the wind from Monsanto's corn. None of the framers can afford the lawsuits so they all give in. Part of the license agreement with Monsanto to use their corn requires that you don't save seeds. Except this fish company to try to reduce egg or sperm output and you'll have to buy those eggs or sperm directly form the company.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (4, Funny)

uncqual (836337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383673)

This always intrigued me.

The neighboring farmer didn't sign a license agreement with Monsanto.

Perhaps Monsanto should go after the farmer who didn't control their "Monsanto Pollen and Seed" properly (that, of course, will never happen because they are Monsanto's customer!) if the license requires that the licensee exercises such control over the product.

It seems to me that the farmer whose crop got cross pollinated has no obligation to return or avoid use of that which someone distributed onto their property voluntarily -- much as if I leave a flyer on your front door, it's yours to do with as you like. This is not a case of "lost" property -- the distribution is expected, predictable, well known, and the actual item being distributed has no direct economic value.

It seems to me that the "cross pollinated" farmer has more of a cause of action against Monsanto (for knowingly distributing a manipulated organism that interferes with the farmer's ability to grow premium valued organic, non-GMO crops).

I'd be tempted to make an offer to Monsanto if I was a neighboring farmer whose crops had gotten cross pollinated: 'Monsanto, get every last bit of your pollution off my property. Access to do so will be granted at the rate of $x/acre per day until you return the land in an "as found" condition with the exception of getting your crap off it'

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (2)

ne0n (884282) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383497)

There's damned good reason for fear, uncertainty and doubt in this case. Precedent set by Monsanto should be a clear warning that these things cannot possibly go as planned. I just hope the FDA gets eaten by a resurrected pack of gender-switching velociraptors before this travesty can grow legs.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383511)

FUD my ass. FUD is typically propagated by some political or corporate entity to undermine an opposing idealogy or business. In this case, I fail to see any political or business entity that would oppose such a move. I think you might be better off calling us naysayers luddites or technophobes or something. FUD is a tool of enfranchised groups. E.g, people who can genetically engineer fish.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383589)

Just because political and corp entries use FUD, doesn't mean they are the only ones. Just calling something stupid and/or dangerous without any basis or backing because someone doesn't like the idea is FUD, regardless of source.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

guspasho (941623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383661)

So every time someone points out why an idea is bad, it's FUD?

The article states the FDA can't find anything harmful about the fish. We can very easily think of something harmful. Monsanto-like licensing restrictions and lawsuits when the GM fish eventually enters the general population will be very harmful.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383205)

The patented fish is infertile.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383401)

The patented fish is infertile.

I seem to remember that GMO soy beans and corn supposed to be infertile too.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383427)

The patented fish is infertile.

I seem to remember that GMO soy beans and corn supposed to be infertile too.

Hopefully, nobody used any frog DNA ....

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383585)

Well played, sir. Well played indeed.

I haven't had mod points in years, but that deserves a +1 Funny. :)

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (2)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383265)

The very concept is just wrongful. It's already a species that doesn't do well farmed. You end up with an inferior product.

What do you mean by "inferior"? Even assuming that the resulting salmon will be less tasty than the unfarmed, wild salmon, if the modified salmon is considerably cheaper, then people may still find that it's a better value. If the product is truly inferior and not worth the price, it will fail on the market and the problem will be solved that way.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383275)

A) they're all female, B) they're almost all sterile. Even if they escaped, they wouldn't last for long in the wild.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

RedDeadThumb (1826340) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383429)

They said the same thing in Jurassic Park and we all know how that one turned out.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383679)

Yes. It was an important documentary.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383281)

Caught salmon is expensive, and fish stocks are already in a state of near-crisis. If the choice is between inferior salmon or no salmon at all, make do.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (3, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383527)

[sarcasm] Let the market handle it [/sarcasm]

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383747)

Tried it. That's why fish stocks are in near-crisis.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383365)

The very concept is just wrongful.

Even assuming that the biotech livestock is not harmful (or, in the language of this "research", "is not likely to be harmful" - and there's a fucking standard: "not likely to be harmful" based upon the fact that we're trying to promote this business and not upon the fact that we have determined that it's safe to eat), even if it's not harmful, creating proprietary animals is a fucking horrible idea.

Let's assume that there are no health risks (which I'm not prepared to assume, but go ahead) what fucking good can come from patented (or copyrighted?) organisms? Do the biggest corporations not yet have enough control over our lives that now they need to get money out of us for the "idea" of a fish? Or the "idea" of corn?

I understand that there's a readership here that grew up on science fiction and believes that technology can never go wrong, a readership that is entirely prepared to skip over all these biotech salmon and go straight to space-food sticks and packets of squeeze-out, petroleum-based pudding.

Don't be surprised when future generations look back on the first decades of the rise of biotech food in the same way we look back on putting radioactive paint on wristwatch hands and asbestos in home insulation and lead in house paint. Remember, those were seen as technological advances, too.

But of course, we're so much more enlightened today that such failures of commercialized technology could never possibly go wrong.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383559)

mod parent up. if people want to do genetic experiments, let them experiment on themselves, not us salmon-eaters.

Reminds me of a story by the way. A girl I met claimed that she met Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in a bar in Cambridge, MA ("Shay's) and, doubting that she even knew who they were, I told her I didn't believe her. I said, "how did you know it was them?" and she related the following conversation:

Girl: OMG! Jimmy Page and Robert Plant?? What are you guys doing here?
Robert Plant: Would you believe me if I told you we were fishing for salmon?
Girl: Um, I guess but I don't think you are going to catch any salmon in here.
Robert Plant: What if I told you we were fishing with very long rods?

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383491)

Given the fact that it causes vastly accelerated growth, I can't wait to hear about epidemics of pituitary problems, gigantism, and diabetes that follow in human species years after this fish appears in supermarkets. Or perhaps the fish cause havoc to related ecosystems when *one single female fish becomes fertile* and starts to have fertile offspring. This is a fucking piss-poor idea. What the hell is wrong with ordinary fish?

when is the correct term (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383715)

When is the correct term, because it will happen, soon more likely than later. Practice has proven that all genetically modified species we have created for human consumption, have moved into the wild and started breeding there. No exceptions. What happens to the wild population, what happens to the species that prey upon salmon, what happens to the rest of the eco system? If those things aren't thoroughly researched, I'd say don't approve (yet). Lets have wildlife conservationists pick a renown research facility and let them do a counter study to the study chosen for and paid by the company applying for the admission. The the company pay for that as well. Only accept results that are in both studies, to get any bias or disagreement amongst scientists out of this. Then see what to do.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383819)

I'm not quite sure that the legal consequences are the main thing to worry about. What about the effect of these fish on the ecosystem? What effect would hybrids between patented and non-patented fish be? People have just ignored questions about the effect of various changes on the ecosystem many, many, many times, and how has that effected the environment? I live in Iowa, and the diversity of species there is fairly minimal, and visibly so. I doubt it is much different anywhere else. It hasn't been, wherever I've traveled in the US. Of course there's a much greater diversity if you peel beneath the surface, but it wasn't always the case that you had to do that, wasn't it?
  And if people have made such spectacularly poor decisions about the environment in the past, why should we believe that this time will be any different than those innumerable times that experts in their field have neglected to note the impact of their professional activities on the environment? The FDA isn't exactly an organization specializing in the inner-workings of the ecosystem. I haven't seen any proof to conclude otherwise. Does the Precautionary Principle mean nothing to the world? It is a truth that this technology is something which needs to be proven to be safe. And "doesn't appear likely", is not a proof by any metric.
  One of the worse scenarios is that the genes of this fish spread to other fish species, and other fish species spread their genes to other fish, which contaminate the fish gene-pool. Eventually, these fish species die out due to the contaminated genetics. And then the species relying on those fish species die out, and that creates a cascading effect. There are many bad scenarios that can be imagined, but one should be enough, so I'll skip the rest.
  Quite simply, there should be proof that this technology doesn't completely screw over the planet a hundred thousand years down the line, because it influences, perhaps quite strongly, what entities are up and about one hundred thousand years down the line. Or a mere hundred. Or even just one. I doubt anyone's ever proven that, I doubt anybody's able to prove that, and I believe that such a thing needs to be proven, so I'm going to have to say that I quite seriously doubt the viability of genetic technology if it were subject to my standards, if they remain as stated.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42382817)

"... didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it" --- what kind of standard is that?

Just about the same as the video replay rules in sports. If you don't have compelling video evidence then the play stands as called. If it's good enough for the NFL it's good enough for humanity.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (4, Informative)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382903)

It's pretty much the only scientific standard available for food. Nothing is absolute, including your existence, and science recognizes that. Additionally, 'food safety' is a pretty nebulous thing once you've excluded all known toxins. Well, those fish aren't toxic, and the tests haven't found anything else more dangerous than any other salmon. As to long term effect, well, we don't really have long term effects on human consumption of any salmon other than anecdotal stuff, and on the level we interact with the salmon, it's the same as other salmon. If I gave you 10 salmon steaks and one was from a genetically modified salmon, you couldn't tell which one it was. (That's if they were raised in the same environment on the same food. Different water temps and foods can change the texture and taste of salmon, but that's environment, not genetics.)

As a side note, I like mentioning corn. Do you really think our corn is 'natural'? Have you seen corn from a thousand years ago? I have, it looks like wheat. What we call corn now is a fast growing freakishly huge form that was created by the form of genetic manipulation techniques known as hybridization and selective breeding.

If you're afraid of eating something just because it's genetics have been changed, you had better stop eating commercial food because pretty much everything we grow and raise has been genetically modified. It's just those were done by slower and less accurate means in the past. It was a method that has even more unintended alterations than genetic engineering and also has to be repeated many many times in an attempt to target the specific change desired while attempting to weed out some of the unintended ones that were introduced at the same time. If you don't believe me, that's fine, go look up breeding and hybridization, you'll find haphazard and unregulated it actually is.
Now if you have a problem with something specific, like a pesticide being produced by the crop, then you might have something worth looking into. Of course, does it express in the part we eat? How do the quantities compare to 'normal' food we buy? (They get pesticide too, and in larger quantities. How much is still there after you take the food home and have washed it?) Of course, if you are just afraid because something is a 'frankenfood', your fears are baseless and I have to wonder if you enjoyed dying in your zombie apocalypse a few days ago?

Sorry about my post being a bit disorganized and rushed, I have to hurry up and get some last minute stuff done that just came up. Have fun, and don't have a staring contest with your food, even if the food started it. :)

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383057)

There's a difference between "doesn't appear likely to" and "appears likely not to". There is a whole spectrum of grades of certainty / uncertainty. The one chosen here looks pretty low.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383113)

My biggest complaint is companies dictating to farmers what to grow, how to grow it, and producing plants that cannot grow on their own, you must buy our special seeds and special "germination spray" each year.... My 2cnd concern, is in "corn" in even the hybridized selectively bread corn, no part of the plant is very toxic.

My 3rd concern is, we are doing something that could affect the planet as a whole. Wipe out all the naturally selected for fish. Its not baseless. Its not impossible. The chances aren't 0, or so close to 0 as to be un noticable.

Some tertiary arguments:
The FDA is not likely to be able to judge appropriately on these issues
Its going to happen somewhere by someone on the planet someway.
Were probably going to have to fix it by further genetic tinkering.

Currently the people rolling out these wonderful GMO products are bad people with a history of abusing everyone not at the top of their corporate pyramid, check out the lawsuits, and legal frenzy all over.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383319)

My biggest complaint is companies dictating to farmers what to grow, how to grow it, and producing plants that cannot grow on their own, you must buy our special seeds and special "germination spray" each year....

None of this is forced onto farmers. Farmers always have the ability to switch away from GM seed and are never required to start their farming business with GM seed. Farmers choose to buy seed from companies that dictate how they use it, because that seed produces a product that makes them more money, either by being more valuable, or costing less for them to grow. Generally, consumers prefer the GM produce, either because they feel it's "better", or because it's cheaper.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383143)

There's a big difference between people selecting for genes that naturally occur in corn and people manipulating the DNA strands using deep-sea fish DNA to make the corn resistant to frost. I trust that the first can be done without much harm, but the second is cause for alarm, as you could have the corn creating chemicals corn never created before as a byproduct. I am happy to see the FDA involved with the salmon and for some decently rigorous testing to have gone on.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383741)

Random mutations can produce chemicals never seen before through natural processes. In fact, organic food contains far more pesticides than conventional and GM foods, and many of these pesticides are mutagenic and possibly carcinogenic.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383471)

As a side note, I like mentioning corn. Do you really think our corn is 'natural'? Have you seen corn from a thousand years ago? I have, it looks like wheat. What we call corn now is a fast growing freakishly huge form that was created by the form of genetic manipulation techniques known as hybridization and selective breeding.

I like mentioning domestic cows, chickens, and pigs: All of these have been selectively bred in order to produce more of whatever they're producing, and none of them have a whole lot of resemblance to their natural predecessors.

But I think that's kind of the point: I'm OK with eating the results of selective breeding and common hybrids. This includes grapes, bananas, tomatoes, and darn near everything else: While wild strawberries tend to be small and bitter, domestic strawberries are big and tasty. We, as humans, have been doing this for thousands of years, and we're made to eat the stuff that we've developed in this way.

But I'm not OK with eating the results of a program wherein man has manually diddled the structure of DNA. Such processes have nothing to do with the selection of the fittest survivors for higher-level breeding, or even cross-breeding, but instead are the result of very purposeful fuckery at the lowest level we can perceive.

We have the ability to produce entire new species of plants and animals on a broad scale. And that's very neat, and all, but it's so far removed from both the natural order and our normal mechanisms for steering it that I don't want it in my stomach any more than I want to slug down some soylent green.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383539)

The difference is thousand years of testing and a few days of testing.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

guspasho (941623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383685)

I don't have a problem with GM, it's the corporate licensing restriction and the threat that poses to our food supply and our freedom to manage it ourselves, a la Monsanto lawsuits against farmers whose crops were contaminated with their licensed GM.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383837)

Obviously all these people are eating ancient grains only, or they would not be espousing such hypocrisy. Enjoy you Amaranth and Quinoa.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382925)

I for one welcome our new GM Salmon Overlords

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

fikx (704101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383199)

that is the same standard used for "regular" salmon, so best we got...

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383461)

I am reminded of an episode of the Simpson's where Smithers doesn't care about the three-eyed fish until he has to eat one. Upon eating the three-eyed fish, he promptly spits it out... right in front of the press that are filming him.

Keep in mind the FDA doesn't care about the public first and foremost. They care about the food and drug vendors and only get involved with health and safety issues when a sufficient number of them occur AND it is brought to their attention.

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383647)

It's the same standard that allows Monsanto to sell genetically engineered corn that creates toxins using a bacterial gene extracted from Bacillus thurengiensis. It's unlikely that you'll suffer much more from looser stools since the U.S. routinely adds fluoride and chlorine to its water supply anway. And most people are consume enough wheat gluten and homogenized milk to cause gastrointestinal distress, anyway. (So take it like a man.)

FDA is underfunded, like most regulatory agencies, and they're pressured to cooperate with industry to, "foster commerce." So when you can't even depend on FDA or FTC to require that industry label GMO'd crops or processed foods they're used to make and you know that the labeling which is required is worthless without the secret decoder key, are you really surprised?

Re:"didn't appear likely to pose a threat" (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383681)

With absolutely no idea what the long-term health effects are going to be from human consumption of a modified genetic animal, they're just going to say go for it?? Given that they can't even reliably certify birth control pills... I'm wondering how they could possibly allow for such a significant change to take place. This is the sort of thing you can never take back...

And given how we're now finding out the honey bee collapse syndrome is a direct result of the Monsanto creations... how can we be certain this won't have much further reaching repercussions?

Did you notice the legalese? (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382731)

after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it.

...the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat ...

Emphasis mine...

Not appearing likely doesn't mean "will not!" And these people are playing with tax payers' tax dollars.

My hope is that they'll label the Biotech products as such at the point of sale, so that the consumer can choose. But the fellas on the other side and their supporters will oppose any such motion. After all they are about making money, Not serving interests of consumers.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382789)

You do know that many foods that humans have eaten for centuries have been discovered to pose a threat in recent years? I have no objection to labeling foods that have been genetically engineered by modern techniques, but exactly how are you going to define that? I take it you do not eat corn? That is a "Biotech" food by certain definitions of the term "Biotech" (including some of the definitions used by those opposing "Biotech" foods).

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383329)

It's oh-so-difficult to differentiate between selective pollination or breeding and altering the genetic structure in a lab. It's practically an insurmountable task, not at all blatantly obvious to a farmer who never graduated high school much less highly educated lawyers and scientists who couldn't tell a gene from sexual reproduction if they were both right in front of them.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383475)

You do know that many foods that humans have eaten for centuries have been discovered to pose a threat in recent years?

Excuse me for asking, but besides Mercury oxide (which was used as a poor man's sweetener until the early Middle Ages when its toxicity became obvious) and the Fool's Webcap (which kills weeks or months after being ingested, and was thus only identified as toxic in the industrial era), can you name any examples? (It's a genuine question, I'm actually curious to know others, since you mention many.)

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383561)

Peanuts is an example. For most people they are a great food, for a significant subset, they are deadly.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42382969)

You would rightly be criticizing them if they said categorically that the fish will not pose a threat.
They've done the science, and have the answer. But science doesn't say "will not".
It's amazing how easy it is to get anti-science comments on a tech site.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (5, Insightful)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383229)

How, pray tell, do you prove a negative? I.e. how do you prove that "GM salmon will never cause harm". If you set the bar impossibly high, then progress will never be made.

As to the labeling, the USDA guidelines for food labeling are designed to keep people honest about the differences in what are essentially commodities. If the USDA believed that there was a significant difference between GM crops and Conventional crops, then they would approve of a labeling initiative. However, one of the requirements for regulatory approval, is demonstrating that the GM crop is substantially similar to the conventional. Therefore, there is no need for a label, unless the label also makes it clear that the implied difference is insignificant. For example, Milk in the US frequently has a label indicating that no rBST was used in its production, but at the bottom of the label is a footnote indicating that their is no difference between milk produced with or without rBST. It is about battling FUD.

I'm currently involved in some FDA filings, and the hurdles for getting a new use approved for something already on the market and GRAS are prodigious, I can only imagine the hurdles that they've forced these GM salmon to jump through to show that the salmon do not appear likely to pose a threat.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (1)

ne0n (884282) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383509)

Those hurdles you mentioned are called "empty bank accounts" and by simply filling the right ones you can get the "correct" result every time.

Re:Did you notice the legalese? (2)

crmarvin42 (652893) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383847)

I realize that it is very stylish on /. to be cunical about both big business and the government, and to some extent i agree on both counts. However, when it comes to regulatory filings, neither side wants to be liable for anything going wrong for obvious reasons. As I said, I'm involved in several regulatory filings at the moment, and I can assure you that bribery isn't in it. If it were, then they wouldn't need me. Or my more expensive coleagues (PhD biochemists carrying law degrees are not exacly a dime a dozen) The high cost of regulatory filings is due to the close scrutiny, bureaucrats fear of blame if things go wrong, and the high cost of research used in assuaging their fears.

No problem with the product (4, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382737)

This should not be a big deal for the FDA. It's clearly a safe food product, although I would be a little put off by a "THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS GENETICALLY MODIFIED FISH" label that I think should be mandated.

The FDA isn't really even competent to judge whether the animals are safe to introduce into the environment. It's not their area of expertise. All they can tell us is if it's safe for people to eat them. It's the EPA that should be concerned about people making frankenfish. And since if they get loose they'd be in international waters, it's a subject for the whole world to decide, or at least every country that fishes in waters where these modified salmon can survive and reproduce.

What happens if they get released and hybridize with wild salmon? Will hybrid fish be off limits to fishermen? Will the fast-growth genes be weeded out in the wild, or will they spread across the whole wild population? (The former is more likely. If it were advantageous to the species to grow faster, they probably would grow faster.) Is this company going to come after salmon fishers the way Monsanto comes after farmers?

Re:No problem with the product (3, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383159)

It hasn't been a quick decision. The FDA has been considering their application since 1995.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703989304575503891676987232.html [wsj.com]

The critics have raised every conceivable objection to GM food, and none of them has held up. I've talked with scientists on both sides of the issue, including the Natural Resources Defense Council. The critics have made their case. Good for them. That's their job. Every point has been answered. If they can come up with something new, I'd like to hear it. But they haven't.

I'm no fan of greedy businessmen, but I do believe in scientific progress. They have to overcome the burden of proof to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that it's safe, and they've done so.

People who are several generations away from American (or any) agriculture don't realize that breeding and improvement of animals and plants has been going on for ten thousand years. They've done the same kind of thing with conventional breeding.

To answer your question, they can't reproduce with wild salmon because they're triploid; they have an extra set of chromosomes.

Even if they did -- maybe 1 out of a billion -- you'd have nothing more than the normal genetic variations in fish. Growth hormones are evolved to turn on and off in different cycles according to the environment in all kinds of animals. There are already animals with extra growth genes from conventional breeding, like Belgian bulls. It doesn't do any harm.

Hybrid seed corn, developed by Henry A. Wallace, revolutionized American agriculture.

It's a small improvement, and not that important by itself, but the problem with the anti-GM movement is that it's anti-science. They're in there with the anti-vaccine people. It comes down to, they don't trust corporations. I don't trust corporations either, but get your arguments right.

Re:No problem with the product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383447)

Cross breeding corn plants to produce better corn is way different from genetically modifying the plant to produce insecticides at a cellular level.

Re:No problem with the product (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383459)

Triploid? My God, they're mutants!

What happens if they run into some radioactive water from Fukashima? Has anyone checked on this? Anyone?

Invasivespecies.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383187)

The current existence of that domain name should have been enough warning. But in case it wasn't, here is a list of just the aquatic imported species that the US government says have already had a significant negative impact on our environment: http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/main.shtml#aqan [invasivespeciesinfo.gov]

Let me be the first... (0)

John3 (85454) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382743)

to welcome our new healthy, upstream swimming overlords.

What could possible go wrong?

Re:Let me be the first... (1)

Rotten (8785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383373)

Hail King Salmon!

This is a seriously bad idea I think... (0)

dryriver (1010635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382771)

Not only does nobody know what kind of changes this genetically altered Salmon will affect in the ecosystem and food chain it is released into; We also won't know for sure, for maybe a decade or two, what eating this genetically modified FrankenSalmon will or won't do to a person's health. What if people eating this GM Fish suddenly start getting weird cancers and tumors in their bowels or elsewhere 10 years down the line? Who will be held accountable for this? And what if it takes years and years and dozens of cases before it can be demonstrated, conclusively, that this GM Fish causes the cancer? ---- I think that this whole thing smacks of putting profits before public health. Precisely _what_ is so wrong with regular Salmon that the world needs a FrankenSalmon that grows at twice the rate of the natural design? ----- What happens when eating this GM Fish starts killing people or making them sick? Will the "manufacturer" delve into the ecosystem and try to "recall" tens of thousands of GM Fish by catching them before someone eats them? ------ Some people will disagree with me, but the whole thing strikes me as an "extreme exercise in stupid", and "an accident waiting to happen". There is no way I would eat this FrankenSalmon, or let my kids eat it. Regular Salmon does just fine for me, thank you! ------

Re:This is a seriously bad idea I think... (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382831)

Not only does nobody know what kind of changes this genetically altered Salmon will affect in the ecosystem and food chain it is released into;

I'm pretty sure the article was about farm raised salmon.

Re:This is a seriously bad idea I think... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383121)

Farm fish have a tendency to escape into the wild.

Re:This is a seriously bad idea I think... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382911)

Regular Salmon does just fine for me, thank you!

I hope you only buy wild-caught salmon, then, because farm-raised salmon is already unnaturally bred & raised for specific commercial goals.

Re:This is a seriously bad idea I think... (2)

NIK282000 (737852) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383037)

I see the tinfoil hat lobby is here. Where does this cancer threat come from? Is it because the media equates anything with "DNA" to cancer? If you are that concerned about the effects of GM foods on your health or the health of your kids then STOP BEING SCARED OF IT and DO SOME RESEARCH. Yelling "its going to kill us all" isn't going to help any one, sit down and do some serious google work. Read everything you find on GM foods and not just the alarmist knee jerk reactions of the uninformed. Just because it's not natural doesn't mean its bad.

Re:This is a seriously bad idea I think... (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383183)

What if people eating this GM Fish suddenly start getting weird cancers and tumors in their bowels or elsewhere 10 years down the line?

There's no plausible mechanism for that. The food basically gets digested in the stomach. They've done animal studies and nothing happened.

Only problem... (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382785)

...tastes like chicken.

Re:Only problem... (1)

blagooly (897225) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383233)

Wow am I relieved. If it tasted like bacon, I would have had to buy it.

stop complaining (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382819)

A hundred years ago it was said miracles of science would feed the world with an unbelievable array of giant, hearty and delicious foods. We're almost there. And we'll get there a lot faster without you kneejerk "anything with altered genes must be bad for you" reactionary luddites.

Stop complaining and take a moment to marvel at all science has wrought.

We can already feed the world just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383323)

but monsatan and corps like this hoard all of the food and means of feeding the world. The world's food supply as it stand can be sustainable for tens of billions of people without the need for science. The genetically modified part is to do only 1 thing: genetically modify humans.

it's not a knee jerk reaction, just common sense.

Re:We can already feed the world just fine (3, Insightful)

BanHammor (2587175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383451)

And if you eat an apple, you will inherit apple genes.
Your ideas are wildly intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:We can already feed the world just fine (1)

doug141 (863552) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383563)

Bravo!

Re:We can already feed the world just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383629)

If their methods are not needed to feed the world, then how can they hoard all of the means? Just use older methods they have no control over.

As long as it's labeled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42382837)

I don't care

Just label it (2)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382855)

If it's clear to me what king of food it it, it's fine with me.
If you want your future kids to have super human powers or gills, take the chance. Eat it!

There are numerous examples where commercial interest was greater than common sense. If anyone wants to gamble, PLEASE go ahead, but leave me out of it.

Re:Just label it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383195)

"but leave me out of it."

This is america, land of the free, and you won't be given that option. Adequate labeling would have a chilling effect of corporate profits and so won't be mandated.

Re:Just label it (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383363)

Can't you buy organic-labeled food? Can't sellers of non-GMO food just label their food non-GMO? Why is that inadequate?

good. (0)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382867)

We in Europe think that you should eat this.

didnt appear (1)

ruir (2709173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382883)

...is not good enough.

Re:didnt appear (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383031)

So, I guess you don't eat any food. Since that is the best standard we have for any food. It is not possible to scientifically arrive at "will not pose a threat." There are only two possible scientific answers when discussing safety: "will cause harm" and "does not appear to cause harm". Those are your choices.

Re:didnt appear (1)

ruir (2709173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383465)

We arent discussing "normal" food year. Havent you heard about studies, conclusions, reality itself and the experiments were all mice developed cancer after being fed with GMO? We are talking about human lives here. I maintain "does not appear" is not enough, and less enough when there are sufficient proofs to contradict this affirmation.

Re:didnt appear (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383579)

THe answer to your question is, NO, I have not heard about credible studies where mice developed cancer after being fed with GMO.

Re:didnt appear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383755)

You mean the experiment (note that singular noun) where some (not all) mice fed Roundup-Ready GMO corn (not all GMOs are equivalent) and some mice fed non-GMO corn developed tumors?
Yes, I've read Seralini et al, 2012. I've concluded that it does not appear to provide any real evidence of anything.
Have you read it yourself?
More importantly, have you looked at the experimental design and the data provided yourself?

Pfizer shows interest. (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382885)

And in other news: If it can super size a fish, it might as well super size a snake, a Pfizer spokes man says.

It won't be approved (3, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382893)

They are opening it up for public comment. Americans distrust science when there is no risk at all. If people get riled up over vaccines, genetically modified fish ought to start quite the fire.

Re:It won't be approved (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383773)

There's political opposition too, namely from Alaska [washingtonexaminer.com] where they don't want their fishing industry challenged by the new guy. Huzzah for crony capitalism.

Sea lice from farmed salmon kill wild salmon (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382909)

Sea lice from farmed salmon are killing wild stocks off. Just imagine what frankenfish could do to the environment. Giant sea lice that attack swimmers. Overgrown sand sharks now man eaters. Pacific octopus, the worlds largest, could grow into something from Jules Verne imagination. Of course, none of these things are likely to occur. It is the things we can't think of that worry me.

Re:Sea lice from farmed salmon kill wild salmon (1)

jimbo (1370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383089)

Perhaps not that but I could imagine escaped fast growing salmon ravenously vacuuming the oceans for food, effectively leaving nothing for other species.
It is impossible to predict the effect of these guys getting out because of different behavior and needs.

We can only hope that their spawning instincts will somehow sabotage proliferation in the wild, otherwise we've introduced a new species into a vulnerable and already troubled Ecosystem.

Re:Sea lice from farmed salmon kill wild salmon (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383499)

These things don't get bigger than wild King Salmon. They just get big, fast. So no Giant Vacuum Salmon. No epic battles between mutant Sea Lice and Sperm Whales. They'll probably end up tasting like cat food so I wouldn't get all bent out of shape with the concept.

BioTech is Godzilla!! (0)

zenlessyank (748553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382913)

Biotech is Godzilla!!

Chromosome count (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42382961)

How about increasing the number of chromosomes (duplicating) in bioengineered salmon? Couldn't this create salmon that are not fertile with natural salmon, decreasing the possibility of contamination?

Re:Chromosome count (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383507)

That's exactly what they do.

FrankenFish! (4, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#42382977)

do NOT cook in an electric oven. you have been warned.

Just one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383011)

I have just one question - will it be served in the cafeteria at the FDA headquarters?

Genetically modified natural foods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383019)

Raising salmons in captitvity or any other species will change the DNA structure of a "free" salmon, whose life long DNA strand is due to the will of nature to convey a fruitfull development without unatural barriers.
Genetically modified salmons will develop structural formations of toxins due to the life development of captivity in the same way animals at the zoo die because their DNA has changed in just a few generations due to the dvelopment of toxins. The toxins produced in these captivated could develop symtoms in humas which may some day become a desease of incurable potential.
If technology cannot free the oceans from trash deterrment, do not be surprised that someday you will be eating your own evacuations inside a contaminated fish or a genetically modified ocean creature developing anti -captivity toxins for survival.
One other thing, the moon controls the wave motion of oceans, so if there isa great tsunami, it will not be a natural disaster. Remember the moon is hallow and is controlled by a "higher intelligence" that controls the solar systemsfunctions movements and transformations.

Re:Genetically modified natural foods (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383505)

Cool story, bro.

Take your meds.

Re:Genetically modified natural foods (1)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383655)

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Genetically modified natural foods (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383875)

One other thing, the moon controls the wave motion of oceans, so if there isa great tsunami, it will not be a natural disaster. Remember the moon is hallow and is controlled by a "higher intelligence" that controls the solar systemsfunctions movements and transformations.

I bet you can't wait for the new season of Ancient Aliens, can you?

Polyploid vegetables (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383131)

As a kid reading about how they used colchicine, a toxic compound that interferes with cell division--to create polyploid varieties of fruits and vegetables that are much larger than those with the natural chromosome complement. And I realized that surely does qualify as "genetic engineering" of a sort.

That's just a stray synaptic firing. Please don't read any subtext into that. I'm not saying today's GM is the same thing. I'm not saying frankensalmon are safe. I'm not even saying polyploid vegetables are safe. And I happen to think there's a totally legitimate concern about allowing commercial interests to rush new technology into widespread use too quickly.

All I'm saying is that I suddenly realized that they've been doing genetic engineering all my life.

Re:Polyploid vegetables (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383513)

We've been doing 'genetic engineering' ever since we domesticated whatever mankind first domesticated. Except for cats, it's been a pretty successful run.

deja vu... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42383353)

...would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time...

I think I saw that movie. Or was it grasshoppers? I don't remember now.

Artificial vs natural selection/breeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383535)

Again and again crowds make the usual false arguments about that we have been eating genetically modified food ever since. While this is true, one seems to neglect to most basic and important point:

Food we currently eat usually has been "produced" by natural selection, that means conventional breeding and selection with a proper reproduction cycle. This cycle ensured that you cannot attach bunny ears to a frog, for example - or have wheat excrede a kind of poison to kill of certain vermin or fungi.

GM crops are artificially modified - there hasn't been a "natural" process that will filter out "strange" (there's no acurate word for what I mean) results, and suddenly wheat can do funny things or pigs can grow a human ear. Of course there's a limit to that, usually the result of those manipulations are infertile or extremely short-lived. But mutation is a wonderous thing, and the result cannot be predicted.
The resulting "gene assembly" has never been eaten by animals, and as such we cannot biologically "know" this assembly, because we had thousands of years of exposure.

I'm a strong believer that artificially modified food is dangerous, because nature's filtering mechanism has been eradicated.
As such I will not eat it under any circumstances, nor do I want it to be grown in my country.
Nature is funny, and Man has always found a way to kill himself.

I'd eat it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42383731)

I'd rather eat "genetically altered" salmon than "pink slime" any day... and yeah, literally all the food we eat has been altered. slowly. literally trial and error.

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