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After two decades of deliberation, the Meals and Drug Administration has authorized the very first ever genetically engineered food animal, a fast-growing Atlantic Salmon known as AquAdvantage salmon.

According the agency, which announced the approval Thursday, the modified salmon are safe to consume, equally nutritious as other salmon, and need to pose no threat to the atmosphere.

Very first developed in 1989 and submitted to the agency for approval in 1995, the Atlantic salmon are modified to carry a development hormone gene from Chinook salmon. That gene is additional engineered to be under the control of a tiny bit of DNA, named a promoter, from the eel-like ocean pout fish. In common, DNA promoters are non-coding sequences that assist control the expression level of a gene—how considerably protein product is synthesized from the gene. With the engineered promoter boosting hormone production, the modified salmon grow to market-size in about half the time of conventional Atlantic salmon.

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