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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:35 AM
Original message
The Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered "Frankenfish" About to Enter Our Food Supply Unlabe


http://www.alternet.org/food/148156/the_creepy_science_... /


This salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the U.S. food supply, and the science behind its approval process is frightening.


-snip-

If approved, AquAdvantage will be the first genetically engineered animal to directly enter the U.S. food supply -- a fact that raises the stakes of the FDA's approval process, as it sets a precedent for all future GE animals. Because of a regulatory decision in the 1980s that no new laws are needed to regulate genetically engineered foods, the FDA is actually regulating the GE salmon as a drug. The next step in the approval process will be a series of public meetings held September 19-21. Already, a number of groups, including Food & Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and Organic Consumers Association have written to President Obama, urging him to discontinue the approval process for the GE salmon. (Full disclosure: I serve on the Policy Advisory Board of the Organic Consumers Association, but I was not a part of the decision to sign onto this letter.)

The company that developed the GE salmon, AquaBounty Technologies, claims the fish grows to market weight in 16 to 18 months instead of the usual 30 required for farmed Atlantic salmon. The fish was created by inserting genetic material of both Chinook (the largest variety of Pacific salmon) and ocean pout (an eel-like fish) into the genome of Atlantic salmon. The commercialized fish will all be females, making them unable to breed. AquaBounty's intellectual property will be further protected because the fish will be sterile, as they will all be triploids (fish with three complete sets of chromosomes instead of the usual two).

How to Make Frankenfish

To create the fish, AquaBounty begins with eggs of GE Atlantic salmon females and fertilizes them with irradiated sperm of another similar fish species, Arctic char. The eggs are then pressure-treated, causing them to produce diploid offspring (i.e. fish with two complete sets of chromosomes), with both sets of chromosomes originating from the GE female salmon. The all-female GE diploid salmon will then be treated with 17-methyltestosterone, a hormone that turns the fish into what AquaBounty calls "neomales" -- genetically female fish that produce milt (sperm) instead of eggs. The milt from the GE neomales will fertilize the eggs of non-GE Atlantic salmon, and the resulting fertilized eggs will be treated with pressure to produce the final product, a line of all-female triploid GE Atlantic salmon.
-snip-
---------------------------------------

two words that stick in the craw: "frightening" and "neomales"

its just fair game to mess with anything female, including women and fish.

they even make seeds that can't reproduce.

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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. If approved, unless bright red warning labels on them, I may give up salmon.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I eat wild salmon, and these genes will eventually affect the wild population
This is a horrible scenario. I don't eat beef, chicken, pork, etc and I only eat a bit of tuna.
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subterranean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
19. The fish will be sterile.
Therefore, even when they escape into the open water (and they will), they won't be able to spread their genes into the wild salmon population.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
butterfly77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. +1
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. people are largely ignorant about it...
...and while I agree with your wider point about corporate greed and so on, it's hard to be supportive of ignorance as a primary motive for fearing new technologies.
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
3. I like Salmon. I look forward to eating it.
Mutations occur regularly, and GE is nothing more than a targeted mutation.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. apparently you didn't read the article - mutation has nothing to do


with this.
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Genetic engineering does what mutations do...
it changes genetic structures. The process of getting the organism to mutate may be different, but they are mutations. The difference is that mutation tends to be random, while GE attempts to create specific strains that will be successful, and discards the unsuccessful strains, which is also exactly like the mundane mutation.

Yes, I read the article. I did not find the process creepy, but I didn't write it from a specific skewed point of view to inspire terror in people.

And I look forward to eating the Salmon.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
33. The technophobic scaremongering is annoying.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. Like comparing a muzzle loader to a machine gun
The whole problem with genetic engineering is that the rate of mutation is sped up far faster than the ability to evaluate the new traits produced. There has been more mutation in GE corn in the 30 years since 1980 than in the previous 3000 years. And companies playing with GE are very careless about how it gets out of the lab and proliferates. But they get that to work to their advantage too. Monsanto has their team of investigators who find people to sue for letting their fields get overgrown with Roundup-ready weeds.

In the beginning of the nuclear age, people were very careless with radioactive materials, workers getting all sorts of job related cancers. I fear that the beginning of the genetic engineering age is no different; people are very careless about letting these genes out into the environment and it is going to come back to kick some people in the ass big time. Although it will probably be the average worker uninformed of the risk who will suffer, not the people profiting from capital investments in GE.

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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. You wont be able tell the difference either by appearance or by analysis.
its a fish. enjoy.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. But it will be different, even though you can't tell
You enjoy. I will have the clean, non-occult food, thank you very much.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Not for long
As population continues to grow, your choices in clean, "non-occcult" (whatever that means) food is going to go down. Many of our costal fishing areas won't survive the next 20 years as demand continues to increase and supply continues to decline.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
26. Non-occult food is open - It's transparently grown and processed, because...
there is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide.

Not like the occult corporate GMO mutant facsimile 'product' -- that has no labels, and is thus hiding (occulting) the substances, forces, and processes that went into MANUFACTURING it via INDUSTRIAL techniques.

Eat what you want. I shun occult Industrial crap, and choose clean food -- even though because of occult industrial and 'regulatory' practices, it is hard work to find food that has not been mucked up.

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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. I suspect this will become common in near future.
and most wont worry about it.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
8. I have a friend who works in farmed fish production
He sites several alarming statistics about the conditions of tradiaional ocean fishing grounds and it looks like most of them are correct. A large percentage of our nations resides in costal areas and every year the amount of seafood our nation and the world consume increses. In short, sooner or later (probably sooner) we're going to run out of fish if we don't either cut back on consumption (unlikey) or find a way to replace fish faster.

I'm more concerned with unfair marketing practices that companies like Monsanto are using with it's seeds to protect their patents than I am with whether this "franken-fish" is safe to eat.
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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. Yes
I was just at the national meeting of the American Fisheries Society last week. The plenary speak talked about how every major wild fish stock population is down dramatically, many down by 75% or more. People gripe about fish farming, and to be fair, it needs careful management, but if we keep on the way we're going, we'll crash every fish stock in existence.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. That was generally my buddies' take on it
That if we kept ocean fishing at current rates, granting for increased demand of both more population and a population looking for a healthier diet, that wild fish stock populations would essentially be decimated by 2030.

My fear here is not in the nature of the fish but in the corporate controls that will probably be set on genetically engineered food animals.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
12. The hypocricy is stunning.
From the article the OP posted:

Because of a regulatory decision in the 1980s that no new laws are needed to regulate genetically engineered foods, the FDA is actually regulating the GE salmon as a drug.

From this article on Common Dreams a few days ago:

FDA Wont Allow Food to Be Labeled Free of Genetic Modification: Report
'Extra labeling only confuses the consumer,' biotech spokesman says

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/09/19-0

snip...

It (the FDA) has sent a flurry of enforcement letters to food makers, including B&G Foods, which was told it could not use the phrase "GMO-free" on its Polaner All Fruit strawberry spread label because GMO refers to genetically modified organisms and strawberries are produce, not organisms.

=====
Why wouldn't salmon be considered an organism instead of a drug?

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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. I think the logic here is that the gene modification is like applying a drug..
they will test the fish for health and toxic effects that may or may not be caused by the "treatment" of genetic engineering.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #17
27. Here's the other thing that really gets me about the OPs article,
Edited on Tue Sep-21-10 02:48 PM by CrispyQ
"Because of a regulatory decision in the 1980s that no new laws are needed to regulate genetically engineered foods..."

WTF??? So we are not going to review & update regulatory decisions that were made in the 1980s? Ever? Am I reading this right? Cuz this sounds like the most asinine fucking thing I've ever read!
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DCBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. That does sound weird.. but perhaps its about efficiency.. not wanting to create another division..
just for genetic engineered foods. But I agree with you that regs need to be updated with new advances in technology.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
14. They are probably working on the new Soylent Green as we speak...
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
20. Damn.. I love salmon..Now I will have find a source that is not contaminated by this..and pay a lot
more..
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. contaminated by what?
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. I consider genetically engineered food to be contaminated.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. LOL!
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
21. oh for pete's sake-- if all you know is hammering, everything looks like a nail....
Edited on Tue Sep-21-10 12:13 PM by mike_c
"its just fair game to mess with anything female, including women and fish."


Do you really think this issue is about FEMINISM?

What goes to market is muscle tissue. There is absolutely zero data suggesting that polyploid muscle is in any way inferior to diploid tissue, and the novel parthenogenesis involved here is just another reproductive mechanism that some animals can exploit readily and others apparently less readily-- but the capacity is present (in this case requiring exposure to higher than normal pressure). Gout sufferers might want to limit their consumption of the extra purines, maybe.

The unreasonable fear surrounding genetic engineering is just plain FUD.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
24. On balance, a good stop gap measure for food security
GM fish will become increasingly important as a food source as we continue to overfish wild stocks and continue to destroy ocean ecosystems.

So there will at least be GM fish to feed us at least temporarily as the global environment collapses, and our numbers start to decline.

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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
25. 10 years from now remember Stuntcat saying, these fish WILL get loose & compete w. native species.
Edited on Tue Sep-21-10 12:55 PM by stuntcat
We're erasing and endangering enough animals as it is.

I heard a man say last night that these fish were sterile and wouldn't be able to breed if they got out anyway. Well I am not ready to believe their pusher's bullsh*t, a scientist at the table with him said that wasn't true for 100% of the animals.
The same industry man also said the fish would only know to eat from a feeder's hand, wouldn't know how to catch food on their own.. so the ones that get out will all die? What kind of idiots do they think they're talking to? AS IF baby fishies are each instructed by their moms how to hunt food? They're only modifying the growth hormones, not wiping out the animals' instincts.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Triploid = sterile by definition.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
30. Ignorant scaremongering. Unrec.
Triploid means they are sterile, therefore there is no risk of these breeding with wild salmon.

"its just fair game to mess with anything female, including women and fish."

WTF does this have to do with women's rights in any way? Holy strawman!!!
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4lbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
34. Haven't they seen Jurassic Park?
"They're all female and sterile, so they are incapable of breeding."


As Jeff Goldblum's character would say:

"Nature always finds a way."



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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-21-10 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Those dinos were not triploids.
Edited on Tue Sep-21-10 07:57 PM by Odin2005
Tripolids are ALWAYS sterile.
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