Home > Uncategorized > Scientists fret over FDA slowness on genetically altered animals – latimes.com

Scientists fret over FDA slowness on genetically altered animals – latimes.com

Scientists have created a genetically modified milk that lacks a key protein involved in triggering allergies — an impressive technical feat that won plaudits in the biotechnology world.

But the development, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t likely to lead soon to less-allergenic milk. The process for getting government approval to sell food derived from genetically engineered animals appears to be a hopeless logjam.

A salmon with designer DNA has been in regulatory limbo since the Food and Drug Administration concluded that the fish appeared to be safe and without environmental risk two years ago. The company behind the fish, AquaBounty Technologies, is still waiting for the final regulatory steps and a sign-off from the FDA.

A herd of so-called enviropigs engineered to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently — cutting feed costs as well as levels of polluting phosphorus in their manure — was euthanized this year because of funding difficulties and public wariness about genetically modified organisms. Cell and semen samples have been banked in cold storage until the regulatory climate and societal attitudes improve, according to the Canadian scientist who was in charge of the project.

Goats that produce a protein in their milk that can help fight diarrhea in young children are being moved from California to Brazil for commercial development in what some scientists see as a more biotechnology-friendly locale.

Scientists are working on a range of products in various stages of development, including virus-resistant chickens, meat with healthier fat and mastitis-resistant dairy cows that would require fewer antibiotics.

But the slow pace of progress on AquaBounty’s application has had a chilling effect on animal biotech efforts — which are conducted in academic laboratories and small companies, not by the multinational corporations that develop genetically modified plants. Efforts have been foundering for lack of funding, or moving overseas.

AquaBounty Technologies has enough money to survive until the end of January, said Ronald Stotish, president and chief executive of the company, based in Maynard, Mass.

via Scientists fret over FDA slowness on genetically altered animals – latimes.com.

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