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Product title :

Current scientific understanding of the environmental biosafety of transgenic fish and shellfish

Author(s) : A.R. Kapuscinski

Summary :

A fluorescent zebrafish was the first genetically engineered animal to be marketed, and biotechnologists are developing many transgenic fish and shellfish. Biosafety science is not sufficiently advanced to be able to draw scientifically reliable and broadly trusted conclusions about the environmental effects of these animals. The science is best developed for identifying hazards posed by environmental spread of a transgenic fish or shellfish and least developed for assessing potential ecological harms of spread. Environmental spread of certain transgenic fish or shellfish could be an indirect route of entry into the human food supply. The management of predicted environmental risks is in its infancy and has thus far focused on the first step of the risk management process, i.e. risk reduction, via a few confinement methods. There is a critical need to improve scientific methods of environmental safety assessment and management and to gather empirical data needed to substantiate biosafety conclusions and to effectively manage transgenic fish and shellfish. Scientists and potentially affected parties should participate in prioritising the knowledge gaps to be addressed.

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