Atlantic salmon is a diet staple for many health-conscious Americans.
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish make it appealing for the health benefits it provides -- reducing the risk of cancer, for one.
A fish that grows up faster could double profits for harvesters, but the Food and Drug Administration still needs to approve the process before genetically modified (GM) salmon makes its way to your local supermarket.
According to the Telegraph, scientists have discovered a way to make salmon mature faster by implanting genetic material from an eel-like species called ocean pout that grows all year round. Atlantic salmon does not naturally grow in the winter months, but this method allows the salmon to fully mature in 18 months instead of three years.
A Yahoo News article says that the GM salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies and raised in fish farms.
If the FDA approves the GM salmon, the door might be opened for other types of genetically engineered animals to be farmed, like Canada's "enviropig," a pig that has less phosphorus pollution in its manure.
Adding to the controversy is the decision whether to label the salmon as genetically engineered when it is sold in stores. Current rules do not require genetically modified crops to be labeled as such, but some public opinion surveys have suggested that people are uncomfortable with the idea of eating genetically engineered animals.
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the deputy commissioner of the FDA, says the public will be kept informed.
"Labeling is one of many issues involved with the review of genetically engineered animals for use in food. As has been publicly reported, the AquAdvantage Salmon is under review by the agency," said Sharfstein.
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