Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Genetically Modified Salmon

I thought I had the subject of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) pretty much figured out. I spent a lot of time a few years ago investigating them, and even wrote a short piece for Wired magazine, and had decided that they probably weren't going to cause any harm.

For plants, anyway.

But this morning I read this Washington Post article about the FDA's approval of GM salmon, and now I'm not so sure anymore. Something about it really skivved me out.

My basic reasoning is this: everyone thought they had mammalian cloning all figured out, and then they cloned a sheep (Dolly). It turned out that Dolly had some very unforeseen problems, especially obesity and early aging. She had telemere problems.

Why didn't the all-wise scientists foresee this fundamental problem, if they have such control over genomes?

Now we're being expected to accept GM salmon, even though they have been forced to grow about twice their normal size. This is a HUGE difference in an organism and to think that we understand all the implications of it strikes me as silly.

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