GMO Pig Development Gets $500,000 from USDA
by Jill Ettinger
With the near-certain approval by the FDA for Aqua Bounty’s genetically modified salmon, which would be the first GMO animal allowed in the U.S. food supply, the USDA has announced a $500,000 grant for research on developing genetically modifying pig genomes, reports Sustainable Food News.
The grant was issued by the USDA on the very same day that the FDA announced its latest findings on AquAdvantage—the Aqua Bounty, Inc salmon modified to contain genes from a Chinook and a pout fish so that it grows to maturity in half the time as conventional salmon.
Recombinetics, Inc, the recipient of the USDA funding says its genetic modification will be used to produce female sows and the development of a species that will be designed not to reach sexual maturity. In its grant proposal to the USDA, the company wrote, “Monosexing and infertility can be used to effectively control the dispersion of genetics from engineered animals, [which] will facilitate the introduction of engineered animals into the [food and biomedical] marketplace.”
And according to Sustainable Food News, several other of the USDA’s 11 grant recipients received funding for biotech work: “Another $500,000 grant was awarded to State University of New York, College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, in Syracuse, N.Y., to evaluate environmental impacts of maturing transgenic American chestnut trees and their nut crop relative to chestnut trees produced by conventional breeding.”
North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, N.C., also received $500,000 to “research genomic approaches for Bt resistance risk assessment and improvement of regulatory triggers.”