The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Biotech Trends in 2011: Transgenics

As our ability to manipulate the genomes of plants and animals grows, we can increase crop yields, reduce environmental impact, improve nutrition and turn barren land arable.  Canada, in particular, has been at the forefront of much of this technology:

  • The Enviropig, developed in Guelph, Ontario, in 1999, produces phytase, an enzyme regular pigs lack, which helps it digest naturally occurring plant phosphorous in its feed more efficiently, which reduces feed costs and decreases the amount of phosphorus that winds up in pigs’ waste – making it less polluting. Recent coverage, from specialty (GenOmics video) to national to international (BBC video) highlights the animals’ great potential.
  • AquaBounty’s AcqAdvantage salmon, developed in Prince Edward Island, is even closer to approval. Although the FDA panel assigned to review the fish decided not to reach a conclusion this past Fall, they are still likely to be the first GM animal to be widely consumed by humans.  The AcqAdvantage salmon grow much more quickly than their non-GM peers and are farmed under close scrutiny, thereby improving environmental impact and reducing costs and overfishing.

Nevertheless, much of Europe continues to resist growing or importing GM strains, and the U.S., traditionally a strong supported of GM crops, seems to be wavering:

We will continue to follow these important legal, regulatory and scientific developments.

This post is the third in a series briefly outlining the biotech industry trends we’ve been following on the blog and noting some recent developments, plus directions for 2011.

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