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Debate: Genetically modified salmon

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Revision as of 05:09, 3 December 2010

Should the FDA approve the sale of genetically modified salmon in the US?

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Background and context

GM salmon contains DNA from Pacific Chinook salmon and an eel-like fish. The modification allows it to produce growth hormone year-round, so GM Salmon grows to market size in 16-18 months rather than the 3 years in which normal salmon mature. GM salmon does not grow larger than conventional salmon.

AquaBounty Technologies Inc. is a biotechnology company founded in 1991 focused on improving productivity in the commercial aquaculture business. AquaBounty produces AquAdvantage Salmon and has been attempting to secure Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market the product since 1995. The company submitted latest New Animal Drug Application to FDA in September.


Sources: http://www.livescience.com/health/transgenic-salmon-fda-review-101118.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/business/26salmon.html

http://www.aquabounty.com

What are the potential health or nutritional effects of genetically modified salmon?

Pro

There are no biologically relevant differences. AquAdvantage salmon contained the expected amounts of nutritionally important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at the appropriate ratio for a fish source. People who are allergic to Atlantic salmon will likely be allergic to AquAdvantage Salmon because it is a finfish-- one of the eight most allergenic foods in the US-- not because it has been genetically engineered.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/VeterinaryMedicineAdvisoryCommittee/UCM224762.pdf

Moreover, increased salmon consumption leads to lowered risk of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in U.S. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000). A study by Lutter and Tucker (2003) revealed that the marketing of GM salmon will lower salmon prices and increase consumption of salmon, an exceptionally good source of omega-3 fatty acids linked to lower risk of heart disease. The resulting increase in omega-3 intake will prevent 600 to 2600 deaths per year in the U.S.

http://regulation2point0.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/04/phpwx.pdf

Lutter and Tucker (2003): A 1% change in salmon consumption should increase total n-3 intake by 8.2%, assuming n-3 intake from other sources is unchanged. Empirical research suggests that a 1% decline in the price of farm-bred salmon leads to a 1% increase in consumption. In French fish markets, a 1% drop in international salmon prices lowers retail prices by 0.165%. A 1% decrease in the cost of farmed salmon will lead to a .165% drop in the retail price of salmon.

GM salmon would reduce the risks of fatal CHD by about 0.2%. Since about 720,000 Americans aged 35 and older died from heart disease in 1999 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000), a reduction of 0.2% amounts to about 1400 deaths per year.

VSL ANALYSIS:

Willingness to pay: $8.22 to reduce risk of heart disease by 1 in 1 million (Cameron, DeShazo, Johnson, 2009)

VSL calculation: 8.22/.000001=$8,220,000

GM salmon reduces fatalities by 1440

1440*8,220,000 = $11.84 billion (value of lives saved)

Con

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How might genetically modified salmon affect the environment?

Pro

Current System for Farming Salmon relies heavily on Ocean Penning

Land based egg production, spawning, and growth of salmon would reduce disease introduction, lower interactions with natural population, and create regional markets where carbon footprint could be lowered. GM salmon production may lower pressure on natural fish populations as well.

Egg Production Facilities (Prince Edward Island) and Growing Facilities (Panama) have 3 or 4 layers of physical containment

Transport of Eggs is in Secure Transport

In the event of escape or release into the wild,

Chance of Survival at Both Locations Limited by Temp., Salinity, Age

Shipments of Eggs for Growing Must be at least 95% Infertile

All Female Population

No natural Salmon Populations Near Either Facility

Minimal Risk of Reproduction

Con

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What is the potential economic effect of genetically modified salmon entering the marketplace?

Pro

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Con

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References:

Related pages on Debatepedia:

http://debatepedia.idebate.org/en/index.php/Debate:_Genetically_modified_foods

External links and resources:

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