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article image‘Myths and realities’ about transgenic salmon reviewed in Chile Special

By Igor I. Solar     Nov 17, 2010 in Business
Puerto Montt - Scientists, representatives of the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry and government officials met in the city of Puerto Montt, Chile, to discuss research and potential production aspects in connection with AquaBounty’s transgenic salmon.
The one-day workshop entitled “Transgenic salmon: Myths and Realities” focused on the biotechnological development of the AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon, the long process of evaluation for approval by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the environmental concerns that the potential use of this fish face from government agencies, salmon producers and the general public.
Dr. Henry C. Clifford, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing of AquaBounty Technologies (ABT) gave several presentations which included details on the fundamentals, development and current status of the ABT product, the science behind the initiative, the potential advantages of growing the transgenic fish, its quality compared to other non-transgenic Atlantic salmon, and stressed the innocuous nature of the product. Furthermore, Clifford detailed the measures that the company has taken to minimize environmental risk of the genetically modified fish.
Dr. Henry C. Clifford  VP of Sales and Marketing of AquaBounty Technologies during his presentation ...
Dr. Henry C. Clifford, VP of Sales and Marketing of AquaBounty Technologies during his presentation at the Myths and Realities workshop on transgenic salmon in P. Montt, Chile.
In an interview with Aqua Magazine (in Spanish) Dr. Clifford was asked about what would be the fate of the AquaAdvantage® salmon research and development project if after all the time and money invested, the FDA does not approve the transgenic salmon for marketing.
We are confident that our salmon will be approved because we have conducted a thorough and careful work to demonstrate scientifically that AquAdvantage salmon is safe, healthy and nutritious, and it does not represent a risk to the environment, as long as it is produced in accordance with the required standards set by the FDA." said Clifford.
Dr. Clifford s introductory slide showing the large transgenic Atlantic salmon and its non-transgeni...
Dr. Clifford's introductory slide showing the large transgenic Atlantic salmon and its non-transgenic sibling.
The meeting also included the participation by video-conference of Dr. Anne R. Kapuscinski. Professor Kapuscinski currently serves on a European Union Food Safety Agency Working Group on genetically modified fish, on the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists and chairs the Science Advisory Committee of the WorldFish Center. Kapuscinski provided the challenging insight by reviewing the critical aspects in the production of transgenic salmon, the potential risks of possible escapes of this fish from culture facilities, and how natural ecosystems may be affected.
Dr. Anne R. Kapuscinski embraces the  Safety First  approach regarding genetically modified organism...
Dr. Anne R. Kapuscinski embraces the "Safety First" approach regarding genetically modified organisms.
There is not absolute certainty about the ability to contain or confine the transgenic salmon from reaching rivers, lakes or the sea. It can be said that these fish can be contained biologically, physically or geographically, but it is known about several failed experiences. How can this be controlled if the AquaBounty® salmon is produced and sold in several countries? " declared Dr. Kapuscincki in her presentation.
Specialists on biotechnology and genetics from Chilean academic institutions participated in panel discussions on the points presented by the foreign experts. The meeting took place on Nov. 16 at University of Los Lagos in the southern city of Puerto Montt, the center of the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry.
Despite some problems in recent years caused by a viral disease affecting production, Chile remains the second major producer of cultured salmon in the world, after Norway. The culture of the transgenic version of Atlantic salmon, however, has not so far been included in the production strategies of Chilean salmon producers.
More about Transgenic salmon, Atlantic salmon, Aquabounty technologies, Aquaadvantage salmon, Environment
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