Aug 7, 2017

Genetically modified salmon gets green light

RafalStachura / iStock

After a quarter century in regulatory limbo, genetically modified salmon is finally swimming migrating making its way to seafood aisles across Canada. The fish, which grows roughly twice as fast as a wild salmon, was first demonstrated in 1989, but concerns about safety kept it off the market.

In 2015, the U.S. and Canada controversially declared that the fish was safe for human consumption, but debates over labelling have stalled the U.S. roll-out.

Why it matters: Global demand for seafood is skyrocketing, and in some markets fish is a primary source of protein. Some advocates believe that GMO fish can help supply meet demand, but others worry that escaped fish (which AquaBounty notes are sterile) could contaminate wild fish stocks. GMO fish could also pave the way for other genetically modified meats, like beef and chicken.

What they did: AquaBounty, the Massachusetts-based company that created the fish, modified Atlantic salmon with a growth hormone gene from massive Chinook salmon, and a gene that regulates the production of an antifreeze protein in the ocean pout. Combined, the modified salmon constantly produces low levels of growth hormone, according to Nature.

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Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.

These swing voters don't like Trump’s environmental rollbacks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Swing voters in four battleground states decisively oppose President Trump’s sweeping rollbacks of environmental regulations — but it’s unlikely to sway their votes.

Why it matters: It’s voters living in states like these, including Florida and Pennsylvania, who fill pivotal roles electing America’s presidents, so we should listen.