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While the debate over whether to label foods containing GMO ingredients plays out across the country, another engineered food has long been waiting to hit grocery stores: genetically modified salmon.
Produced by Massachusetts-based biotech firm AquaBounty Technologies, the fish is an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow twice as fast as its conventional, farm-raised counterpart. But AquaBounty’s fish has been languishing in the regulatory process: The company has been trying to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve its salmon for sale for nearly 20 years.
One concern repeatedly raised by critics who don’t want the FDA to give the transgenic fish the green light: What would happen if these fish got out of the land-based facilities where they’re grown and escaped into the wild? Would genetically modified salmon push out their wild counterparts or permanently alter habitat? In a review paper published this month in the journal BioScience, scientists tackle that very question.