The US FDA has approved the first genetically engineered food animal, a fast-growing Atlantic Salmon called AquAdvantage salmon.
According to an announcement, after an exhaustive and rigorous scientific review, FDA approved AquAdvantage salmon as safe to eat as any non-genetically engineered Atlantic salmon, and also as nutritious.
"The data demonstrated that the inserted genes remained stable over several generations of fish, that food from the GE salmon is safe to eat by humans and animals, that the genetic engineering is safe for the fish, and the salmon meets the sponsor’s claim about faster growth," said FDA in a statement.
The decision comes after two decades of deliberation, with the Salmon first created in 1989 and originally submitted to the agency for approval in 1995.
The Salmon are modified to carry a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon, which is then further engineered to be under the control of a tiny bit of DNA, called a promoter, from the eel-like ocean pout fish.
The engineered promoter boosts hormone production so that the modified Salmon grow to market-size in about half the time of conventional Atlantic salmon.
The modified Salmon will not carry labels as such because FDA found no material differences with conventional Salmon.