A genetically-modified AquAdvantage salmon, top, next to a control salmon of the same age. Photograph: AP
US authorities today began the process to approve the first GM animal for human consumption.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a 60-day period of consultation and public meetings over whether to permit a GM strain of salmon to be eaten by humans, even though it has been called a “frankenfish” by critics. The approval process could take less than a year, and if it gets the green light the fish could be on the market in 18 months.
Environmentalists and scientists see the decision as marking a threshold. If it is approved it is likely to open the door to a large range of GM animals being raised for consumption. If not, scientists say that will have a negative effect on research, in part because there will be no money to be made from it.