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The Washington Post this morning reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to release guidelines today that will cover the genetic engineering of animals for food and drugs.

According to the story, “biotech firms will be asked to provide the molecular identity of snippets of DNA inserted in an animal's genome, as well as where the genetic message lands and whether it descends unaltered through subsequent generations. The FDA also wants to be told how the genetic alterations might change an animal's health, behavior and nutritional value. The companies also should inform the agency how they will keep track of animals, prevent them from mingling with their non-engineered cousins and dispose of them when they die.”

The Post also reports that “food that is produced from genetically engineered animals will not have to be labeled as such. However, if the genetic manipulation changes the nutritional content -- for example, by increasing a beneficial form of fat -- that must be declared on the label. The specific requests in the guidelines are not mandatory. However, biotech companies seeking FDA approval to commercialize genetically engineered animals must follow federal drug laws.”

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