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Hope for gene editing in aquaculture

Staff Writer | December 7, 2017
A new way to classify and regulate GMOs has been proposed by the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.
Fish tuna
Seafood   Norwegian legislative
The board proposed a renewed public debate and dialogue over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and 17 of the 20 members voted in favour of a new three-tiered classification for genetic engineering.

If adopted, this could offer hope that a number of current projects – in particular those using gene editing on salmon – could gain fairly rapid regulatory approval.

It is a process that will be followed particularly closely by Norway’s salmon sector, in which a number of promising genetic engineering projects are currently taking place.

These include the use of the gene editing technology CRISPR Cas-9 to produce sterile salmon and also salmon resistant to ISA.

As the board reflects in a statement: "Genome editing, CRISPR being the prime example, is now being employed by researchers all over the world at an unprecedented pace.

"The technique allows for targeted genetic alterations such as deleting, substituting or adding DNA, or switching genes on or off without making any changes to the genetic sequence."