Marketing Genetically Engineered Food Essay

1256 words - 5 pages

Unlike genetically modified plants, genetically modified animals are not yet available to consume. However, some animals were subjected to trails of genetic modification. There are three main processes in genetically modifying animals. A group at Yale University conducted the first in 1980. The process, known as microinjection, was used to fertilize mouse eggs with foreign human growth DNA to result in a hybrid genome. This process however has only a five percent success rate and therefore is not very effective. The next process is known as retroviruses. This process allows ribonucleic acid to serve as a template to produce DNA and later inserted into the host’s gene. However, this causes random placement of the DNA and is not a very popular method. The last method is called embryonic stem cell transfer. This allows gene targeting and the insertion of DNA into a specific spot in the animal’s gene, much like genetic engineering in plants (Lee). Genetic modified animals that are currently being tested include salmon, sheep, swine, and cows. Even though genetic modified animals are controversial, many benefits can come from genetically altered animals.
In 1995, a company known as AquaBounty, applied for approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin selling to the general public a genetically modified salmon. The salmon, known as Salmo salar, carries two different types of DNA. The first DNA is a growth hormone from the Chinook salmon. The other is DNA from the ocean pout, or Zoarces americanus, a type of eel that lives in very cold and deep waters. With these two insertions into the genetic code of the salmon, the salmon can produce a growth hormone all year round instead of just during the summer months. Producing growth hormone for a longer period of time allows the fish to reach maturity in almost half the time it would take a normal Atlantic salmon to reach maturity (Anthes). Currently, the company is still waiting approval to market this salmon. However, one of the main reasons this fish has not been approved could be due to politics. Many members of congress that oppose this salmon live in states that have strong salmon industries. With the approval of this genetically engineered animal, many genetically modified animals can follow.
In 1999, scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada created a genetically modified swine. This swine took on the name Enviropig. Enviropig was the first genetically modified pig that would benefit the environment. Adding the murine parotid secretory protein into their genes modified Enviropig. This allows the swine to produce phytase in their salivary glands. When this enzyme is swallowed, it becomes active in the stomach and mixes with the phosphates that the swine already digested. This process causes the Enviropig to excrete less phosphorus causing less water pollution (Anthes). While in the process of getting approved, the scientists lost their findings and had to euthanize the swines.
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