A breed of fast-growing Atlantic salmon rocketed to celebrity status on 19 November when it became the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption in the United States.
The landmark decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) releases the 'AquAdvantage' salmon from two decades of regulatory limbo--but it could also revitalize an industry that has waited a long time for any sign that its products might make it to market.
"It opens up the possibility of harnessing this technology," says Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at the University of California, Davis. "The regulatory roadblock had really been disincentivizing the world from using it."
The FDA decision comes at a time when the US government is re-evaluating how it regulates genetically engineered crops and animals. On 2 July, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said that it will update those regulations--for the first time since 1992--over the next year. And at a meeting on 18 November, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed preliminary plans to revise its guidelines for genetically engineered crops.
A key driving force for these discussions is the recognition that current regulations may not cover crops...
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