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Argentina exempts AquaBounty's gene-edited tilapia from GM rules

The tilapia is one of the first gene-edited food animals to receive the regulatory exemption.

AquaBounty's gene-edited line of tilapia, FLT 01, is exempt from genetically modified (GM) regulation in Argentina, according to Argentina's National Advisory Commission on Agricultural Biotechnology (CONABIA).

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Maryland-based Intrexon, which developed the tilapia with AquaBounty Technologies, made the announcement Tuesday. AquaBounty is a majority-owned subsidiary of Intrexon.

"We are focused on developing animal biotechnology for aquaculture and livestock through our subsidiaries to support sustainable food production in the US and abroad," said Thomas Bostick, COO of Intrexon, on Tuesday.

"We are pleased with Argentina's leadership in establishing a transparent and predictable process for the advancement of products developed with gene-editing techniques and see this as a critical development for companies seeking to bring highly innovative solutions to the global market using powerful and highly precise genetic tools."

The engineered tilapia were developed using gene-editing techniques and do not contain any foreign DNA or a new combination of genetic material that would warrant their regulation as genetically modified in Argentina. FLT 01 is believed to be one of the first gene-edited food animals to receive a regulatory exemption due to its designation as a non-GMO, according to the companies.

This line of tilapia enables more sustainable production through improvements in fillet yield, growth and feed conversion efficiency, enabling the tilapia to grow to market weight in less time, while also consuming less feed than conventional varieties, according to the companies.

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