Following what it describes as an "exhaustive and rigorous scientific review," the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the approval of the first ever genetically-modified animal for human consumption. The engineered salmon in question has had its DNA altered in such a way that it grows to market-ready size in around half the time of regular salmon, and has now been declared safe for humans and safe for the environment.
CRISPR genome editing is one of the most significant, world-changing technologies of our era, allowing scientists to make incredibly precise cut 'n' paste edits to the DNA of living organisms. Now, one synthetic biologist from NASA plans to make it as accessible as a home science kit, so you can bio-hack yeast and bacteria on your kitchen bench.
The world's growing population faces a constant string of tradeoffs. On the one hand, we need more rice to feed ourselves. On the other hand, control of greenhouse gases is a major priority and rice growing generates a lot of methane. It seems like a Catch 22, but a team led by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has come up with a genetically engineered strain of rice that not only produces almost no methane, but also more grains.
We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because
it's full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the
Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which
contains short chain fatty acids that aren't quite so good for us.
Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however –
genetically-engineered beef that's high in the "good" fatty acids.