WASHINGTON — The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, waded into a debate about how much control his agency should have over genetic engineering in animals, saying that the resolution of this question will have significant implications for the future of gene-based medicine.

His remarks, in a speech Thursday at the annual conference of the Food and Drug Law Institute, came less than a month after Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told lawmakers at a hearing that the FDA’s regulations on genetically engineered animals could stifle innovation.

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