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Talk about swimming upstream...

The New York Times has a story about a man described as "a Soviet biologist turned oligarch turned government minister turned fish farming entrepreneur" who seems to be the only thing keeping alive the dream of creating a genetically engineered fast-growing salmon that can be eaten by American consumers.

The man, Kakha Bendukidze, is the largest shareholder in a company called AquaBounty Technologies, which actually has engineered the salmon and gotten the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conclude that it "would be safe to eat and for the environment," though the FDA has not yet approved production of the fish. And nobody seems to think that approval will come anytime soon, especially in an election year.

According to the story, it is more than just about salmon: "While opponents would cheer the company’s demise, some scientists and biotechnology executives say that if transgenic animals cannot win approval in the United States, then the nation will lose its lead in animal biotechnology as work moves elsewhere. Scientists in China, in particular, are trying to develop livestock that is resistant to mad cow and foot and mouth diseases, sheep with high yields of wool, and pigs and cows with healthy omega 3 fatty acids in their meat."
KC's View:
I'm so torn on this one. There is a big part of me that worries about eating GM products, and I certainly think they ought to be labeled as such ... but I also don't want to be a Luddite about it. Creating such items may indeed be a way to generate more food and feed more people, which could help eradicate hunger in the US and the rest of the world. I'd hate to lose that opportunity because I'm a little squeamish...