Genetic Engineering by Tina Kafka

By Tina Kafka

Pharming: the ailment or the healing? -- Genetically engineered meals: whose urge for food do they fulfill? -- From textile to gas -- clothier infants -- severe genetic engineering: the long run

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Aqua Bounty Technologies in Massachusetts is hoping to gain FDA approval for a transgenic Atlantic salmon that has been engineered with two genes. The first is a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon, and the second is a gene from another fish—the ocean pout—that keeps the growth hormone flowing year-round. Ordinarily, salmon grow primarily 33 34 GENETIC ENGINEERING during the warm summer months. This genetically engineered salmon, however, reaches market weight in only eighteen months, a full year ahead of conventional salmon.

The contest guidelines require that the company that submits the winning entry also prove that its product is practical to make and sell. They must produce at least 2000 pounds (970kg) and distribute it to fast-food restaurants and grocery stores in ten states over a period of three months. The cost must also mimic that of real chicken. Ingrid Newkirk, a founder of PETA, explained that the contest itself is controversial within the organization, since Where’s the Chicken? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has provoked quite an uproar within the organization by offering a $1 million prize to the person who comes up with a practical way to make test-tube meat by 2012.

Subsidized cotton crops in the United States and patents held by large corporations threaten the livelihoods of farmers and the future of farming itself in these small, economically fragile communities. Moreover, Hamnett, a world-renowned clothing designer, has a loud voice in the fashion world. She explains how her passion fuels her goals: “Look, I’ve done the Paris shows, where all these people come backstage and air-kiss and say they loved the line, and I’m just trying to control my face because I don’t give a damn.

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