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Biotech Science

Genetically Engineered Pets Hit the Market 756

Posted by michael
from the hypoallergenic-cats dept.
psoriac writes "According to this article the Taiwanese Taikong Corporation is starting to sell "Night Pearls" - zebrafish that glow in different red and green patterns thanks to genes from jellyfish and marine coral. US sales are expected to follow."
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Genetically Engineered Pets Hit the Market

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  • "Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by frieked (187664) * on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:02PM (#6244290) Homepage Journal
    ...the world will know the glory of the five assed monkey." -Mephisto
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:02PM (#6244294)
    Ever see the mouse with the human ear [google.com]? I'd like to see a guinea pig with a human vagina. And no teeth.
  • Bah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aborchers (471342) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:02PM (#6244296) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather have a pressurized tank with naturally bioluminescent deep-sea species...

    • Re:Bah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oenone01 (312264) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:08PM (#6244376)
      I'd rather have a pressurized tank with naturally bioluminescent deep-sea species...

      How would you clean it? That is without killing the fish when you depressurized it.
      • Re:Bah! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by aborchers (471342) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:19PM (#6244542) Homepage Journal

        How would you clean it? That is without killing the fish when you depressurized it.


        While I'm daydreaming, I may as well make it a perfectly self-sustaining biosphere that never needs cleaning, right?

        Seriously, if I could afford to create such an environment and the equipment needed to get the fishes from the ocean and into it (which to the best of my knowledge noone has ever done) I would imagine I could create a cleaning system that works while the system was pressurized.

        Alternately, perhaps some multi-chambered approach where the fish could be herded into a chamber that remains pressurized while the other chamber is depressurized for cleaning???
        • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Informative)

          by ender- (42944)
          Seriously, if I could afford to create such an environment and the equipment needed to get the fishes from the ocean and into it (which to the best of my knowledge noone has ever done)

          On the contrary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium [mbayaq.org] has quite a few deep sea creatures [mbayaq.org] in pressurised tanks/displays. I don't know how they clean them though.

          Ender

        • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

          by The_K4 (627653)
          Just use really thick pressurized plastic bags to bring them home from the pet store :) he he he
        • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Informative)

          by secolactico (519805)
          While I'm daydreaming, I may as well make it a perfectly self-sustaining biosphere that never needs cleaning, right?

          Here [ecosaqua.com]. Not luminicent, but it's a start.
    • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Informative)

      by JungleBoy (7578)

      Many deep sea creatures don't actually require a pressurized environment. They can life at surface pressure. But they tend to be very sensitive to temp (need cold), light (its dark down there), and oxygen level.

      Monterey Bay Aquarium: Care of deep sea animals [mbayaq.org]
      • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Kenshin (43036)
        But they tend to be very sensitive to temp (need cold), light (its dark down there), and oxygen level.

        Well, I don't know about the oxygen thing, but it seems they'd be a perfect companion for Slashdotters.

  • by ites (600337) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:04PM (#6244320) Journal
    It was inevitable, and follows a long and respected history of torturing animal genes to please people. Little dogs like mice, cats with squished faces, glowing fish. Hey, what's the good of absolute power if we can't abuse it.

    Before all the fuss about "messing with nature", I'll just remind /. readers about the theory that most human attributes including pigmentation were selected by sexual, not environmental selection. I.e. we look like we do largely because, like glowing fish, we find ourselves "cute".

    • by WTFmonkey (652603) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:07PM (#6244364)
      I, also a member of PETA, am wondering how these fish taste.

      BTW, that's the "People for the Eating of Tasty Animals".
      • "Nutritious and delicious, tastes just like chicken!"

        Hey, maybe now we can have a live action Charlie Tuna!

        Comparing the taste of these fish to natural fish is like comparing apples and oranges. Oh, wait, now we can have both at the same time!

        So what colour synthahol goes with synthetic fish?

        Will you have to do a blush response test to find out if your fish is a replicant or not? Calling Chef Harrison Ford!

        Maybe now they can genegineer some fish that, even when uncooked, taste like cooked fish. Sushi
      • how these fish taste. .. and whether the glow-in-the-dark effect will .. um .. pass through ...
      • One time, my friend went into petsmart and asked to buy some fish.

        The lady asked him, "What size aquarium will you be putting these in?".

        He replied: "Aquarium? I was just going to chuck them at passing cars in the parking lot!"

        ~Wx
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:13PM (#6244455)
      history of torturing animal genes

      Something tells me that genes don't feel pain and therefore can't be tortured. Maybe it is that lack of a nervous system.

      From an ethical point of view I have no problem with this. My only concern would be letting something like this loose in nature and therefore messing with ecology.
      • Yeah. Heaven forbid a gene mutation makes it into the general population. The next thing you know, evolution might start taking place.
    • Give us another million years and we'll breed away the hair on the muff forever.
    • by parkanoid (573952) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:20PM (#6244562)
      Are you trying to say that the vast majority of the human race has the intellegence of the bugblatter beast because geeks can't get laid? ;)
      • by ites (600337) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:24PM (#6244615) Journal
        Nah, geeks get laid, it just takes them a while. The jocks get laid young, but they also die young in car accidents and gym showers. Yuck. We geeks invest in our brains, and kernel-hacking skills, then we get all the cute girls on the rebound. It's a strategy, like any other.
    • I'll just remind /. readers about the theory that most human attributes including pigmentation were selected by sexual, not environmental selection. I.e. we look like we do largely because, like glowing fish, we find ourselves "cute".

      Yes, and what is found to be cute often relies on the features necessary for best survival in any environment.

      Go back a few thousand years:
      In Africa, the darker the skin the more time out in the sun gathering food and hunting. The women who are larger can carry more, nurse more, hence the desire for larger, curvatious women (Go back to older African songs saying their women have bigger breasts/ass)

      In Eastern Asian countries, especially Japan, a lot of time is spent fishing in bright sunlight. Darker pigmentation in the eyes, plus smaller eyes, for better visibility on the water, lean muscles for fishing -- height being a factor.

      Cute is a byproduct of what the environment says will survive best.
      • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:23PM (#6245459) Homepage
        (Go back to older African songs saying their women have bigger breasts/ass)

        I wouldn't consider "Baby Got Back" an older African song.
    • I don't know about everyone else but when I see things like this I first ask 'Why?'.. then 'What the fuck.. cool!' If they didn't cost to much I'd buy some of these. I can imagine the pleasure of my cats sitting in a dark room watching the swimming fish glow in the dark.

      It's a shame they can't provide a drug that could be given to current pets to make them glow. (Yes, I admit it.. I'd probably dose myself.. who needs a glow in the dark condom now!) I'd feel safer letting my pets out to pee at night if they
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cmburns69 (169686) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:04PM (#6244323) Homepage Journal
    This is a disturbing trend. The same problem exists with genetically altered pets as with genetically modified foods. There is the potential (and its likely) that the GM version is more hardy than the natural version; Therefore, if left to compete in the open environment (maybe some seeds spread to a different field, or some kid turns their fish loose in the sea) they could replace the natural species.

    I don't know what the solution is, because there are many good uses for GM products, but its an issue that needs to be thought out carefully, instead of just saying "cool!"
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Telastyn (206146) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:16PM (#6244485)
      How is that a problem?

      If left to their own devices simple mutation will eventually lead to the hardier species anyways.

      More of a problem is if they are not hardier species and rely upon artificial environments [man] to survive. Even then it's simply an ethical consideration about making a species that is doomed without us. Are we ready for the responsibility and the such.

      Personally I think it's cool. I also think that *someone* is going to do it, as someone will always disregard ethics for some reason or another...
      • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Selanit (192811)

        How is that a problem?

        It's a problem not because it might simply replace one existing species, but because it might replace that species and take down dozens of others with it, throwing an entire ecosystem into disarray. Take the brown snake, [usda.gov] which was introduced to Guam in fruit shipments. They eat birds and birds' eggs. They are rapidly destroying all of the birds in Guam, because there are not enough natural hazards to keep them in check. Additionally, they crawl into transformers and short circuit t

    • by Benm78 (646948) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:16PM (#6244489) Homepage
      The risk you mention is an obvious one, but with most genetically modified organisms its unlikely they would be superior competitors for the wild type.

      I doubt that glowing in the dark would benefit a zebrafish. Its very unlikely they'd be more attractive to the opposite sex here, zebrafish are not used to looking for glowing mates. Also, glowing in the dark could be quite a disadvantage if any predators are near.

      In case of GM'd crops (resistance to pests etc.) the modified organism could well be superior to the wildtype.

      But even if an advantage is introduced, its still questionable if replacing the wild type with the improved version is a bad thing.

      What does humanity lose when all soybean plants become roundup-resistant? Would the world be a worse planet to live on if all zebrafish glowed in the dark?

      • Also, glowing in the dark could be quite a disadvantage if any predators are near.

        Just what I was thinking. The glowing fish would be the first thing eaten, so their genes would not last long in the wild.

      • by BigBadBri (595126) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:33PM (#6244750)
        What does humanity lose when all soybean plants become roundup-resistant?

        Nothing, unless hatred of Monsanto is a human good.

        What really would be a pisser, though, is if all the weeds in the soybean fields ended up roundup resistant.

      • by msimm (580077)
        What is it did breed and managed to make a previously edible species of fish inedible?

        Thats the kind of situation that I'd be curious about. They may be relatively unimportant traits and still have some far reaching effects.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by penguinlust (669507)
      What about the recent story of the Canadian farmer. He had modified seeds of some kind blow into his field and mix genetically with his seeds for the next year. Mansanto has sucessfully sued him to stop hime from using their patented genes and he how has no farm left.

      This same kind of thing could happen with fish or whatever. Some fish that is not as steril as thought breeds with another unmodified fish and a kid gives one of the offsping to a friend. If this goes a bit further then the owner of the
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by praedor (218403) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:12PM (#6245300) Homepage

      Oh poopiedoops. A froo-froo gene like luciferase or GFP (Green Flourescent Protein) will not convey an advantage (more likely a disadvantage as it would make them visable to predators). This is innocuous and harmless to the fish.


      So-called "frankenfood" is also mostly alarmist nonsense. SOME forms of GM food are a good thing(tm). For instance, if you could increase the nutritional value of a crop plant, that is good. It is likely to be somewhat costly to the plant when compared to non-altered wildtype (it takes energy to produce extra nutrients that evolution didn't set you up with). Food designed to be used for vaccination would also be good and not provide any advantage (but a cost) for the plant for similar reasons. On the other hand, creating drought-resistant plants, salt-resistant plants, or chemical agent resistant plants is NOT a likely good thing as in the evolutionary environment of a farm, this would provide a distinct evolutionary advantage to the plants, even those that pick up the trait by incidental species transfer of DNA (happens a lot...agrobacteria is one way to pass DNA around, as are certain plant viruses).


      Under NORMAL circumstances (left to the wild ways of evolution), resistance to herbacide would not be of any real use and would actually be a biological burden to be selected against. But in our day with chemicals being used, it is an advantage. Thus it would be as advantageous to the desired plant as it is to the "weed" that picked up the gene by horizontal gene transfer. Bad news and ultimately self-defeating.


      Thus, Greens and other knee-jerk anti-GM food people need to learn a bit and start making logical and reasonable distinctions. Altering crops for improved nutritional value or for specific use in immunization is A-OK and not harmful (What, a weed might actually pick up some extra nutritional value? Good! A new crop plant! But it wont because it is burdensome to carry). On the other hand, altering crops to produce pesticides or be herbicide resistant is a recipe for disaster.


      One genetic engineering project I was involved with for a while was an attempt to improve the fungal resistance of sugarbeets. The means was to transfer chitinase into sugarbeets from fungi, an enzyme that degrades chitin, the cell-wall material in fungi (among other things). In fungi, the chitinase gene is tightly regulated and needed for proper cell growth and division. Placed into a crop plant, the hope was that if a fungal disease tried to attack the crop, the chitinase in the plant would cause the fungi to lyse (break open) and die. There are different ways this could work: have the gene turned on all the time so there is always a low level of chitinase (alien to a plant) all the time or you could tie it to a gene promotor associated with the plants stress response system so that it turns on only when the plant is under direct attack by fungi. Spiffy idea and good. Weeds are not generally devastated by fungal disease anyway so a transfer would be harmless. Besides, since there are viruses and bacteria that can transfer DNA between species of plants, and fungi can infiltrate and attack various plants, it is not unlikely that there are already wild plants out there that contain various genes from viruses, bacteria and fungi anyway already. There is nothing magic going on here.


      An alternative project along the same vein was to alter yeast to overproduce chitinase on demand. The idea here was that you would spray your crop with a solution containing the modified yeast and then induce chitinase overproduction. The yeast would burst and dump their cell contents into the soil in the immediate vicinity. For some unknown period of time, active chitinase in the soil would (or so it was hoped) provide a barrier to fungi, preventing attack on the plants. I doubt this project would have worked out very well for a number of reasons but at this point I don't know the status of either project as I no longer work in that lab.


      It is not automatic that any GM of crops MUST be a bad thing. Use some critical thinking before judging.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bombcar (16057)
      I don't know what the solution is, because there are many good uses for GM products, but its an issue that needs to be thought out carefully, instead of just saying "cool!"

      That's why we all have to buy Fords!
  • But the prospect of GM pets has outraged pet dealers.

    Sounds like a PR problem.
    Maybe they should hire Robert Novak [petswarehouse.com] to help their image- he lots of fish experience!
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:04PM (#6244328)
    The first person to patent a dog that refuses to pee in the house will be gangbusters.
  • by illuminata (668963) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:05PM (#6244332) Journal
    They just appear to be glowing in red and green patterns, if you fucking hippies would get off of the psychedellics you'd realize that they're not glowing at all!
    Oh, wait, that's Phish, my bad.
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by spakka (606417) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:05PM (#6244334)
    I didn't even know they'd made zebrafish yet, let alone coloured ones.
  • by coupland (160334) * <<dchase> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:06PM (#6244344) Journal

    Sounds pretty neat to me, after all people have been genetically modifying animals for tens of thousands of years, except the tool has been breeding rather than genetics. It's called domestication. We didn't hear any of these hypocrites moaning about the evils of genetics when they invented Clamato, did we???

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:16PM (#6244498) Homepage Journal
      Sounds pretty neat to me, after all people have been genetically modifying animals for tens of thousands of years, except the tool has been breeding rather than genetics.

      Yes, and people have been using cars for tens of thousands of years, it was called running.

      Jeez, breeding for particular traits is NOT at all the same as inserting genes from other species.
      • by Remik (412425) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:12PM (#6245302)
        Go back and reread the first 2 Chapters of Darwin's treatise on Natural Selection. It is all about humans as the major force in natural selection through domestication.

        As someone who has taken several courses on Genetic Engineering with scientists deeply involved in the field, I can say that there is little consensus on what exactly 'Genetic Engineer' means, as a term.

        There are natural processes by which genes from one organism get inserted into genomes of another. Are you saying that this is not GE? Does it have to occur in a test tube to be GE? How can the location where the transgenetic meeting occurs determine the risk to the ecosystem?

        -R
  • Ever read Dune? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PD (9577) *
    In about 10 years, La-Z-Boy is going to introduce the chair dog.
  • "Perhaps I should have left nature alone with its' one-assed schematics"

    and

    "Hey! These pigs look like Mr. Garrison!"

  • by m00by (605070) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:08PM (#6244367) Journal
    the scottish have been "injecting" sheep with their genetic material for ages, sadly to no avail. some day though, the noble scots will have their sheepwomen!!!!!!!!! =D
    • Al nae ha ye slanderin ma naebal kith an kin li' tha!! Evryane noes tha al th' sheep buggerin' Campbells went tae New Zealand in tha 1850's. Git af ma fukin barrae, ye sassanach basteid!
  • by xluserpetex (666816) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:08PM (#6244370)
    we had to shove christmas lights down their throats to make them glow.
  • by PhysicsGenius (565228) <physics_seeker&yahoo,com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:08PM (#6244378)
    for things like improving rice or wheat. These are clearly important, life-sustaining purposes that warrant taking on a little extra risk. But glow in the dark fish? Is that really worth the possibility that the fish will escape and reek havoc in the ecosystem?

    Also, many fish, such as goldfish, are just slightly different breeds of wild fish, such as carp. If an "engineered" fish escapes and breeds with a fish that's in our food chain and then we eat it, that could have important health implications. We need to be absolutely sure that genetically engineered products, such as grains, don't reach human mouths.

    • I know this is hard to imagine, but eating something doesn't somehow confer its genetic structure to you. For a long time people seem to have developed the belief that "you are what you eat" but that simply isn't true. Eating one of these fish isn't any more likely to make you glow in the dark than it is to make fins pop out of your body. Better not eat any cows unless you want 4 stomachs! Or any plants unless you want to start turning green and getting energy from the sun through your skin! or maybe y
  • by el-spectre (668104) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:08PM (#6244380) Journal
    'bout 2 minutes, I expect.
  • by spumoni_fettuccini (668603) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:10PM (#6244394) Journal
    Can I get a frickin "laser" implanted in their heads?

  • First of all know one completely understands a gene strand. ok lets say we have our cool glowing fish soon to be the next pet must have. first of all in new enviroonments they will evolve. in a natrual environment they will evolve even more. Who says these things wont develope stingers. What happens when kids start releasing these things into the ocean and they start growing and adapting. People need to learn that implimentation and experiementation are two completely different things. pretty soon we will
  • Grass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:11PM (#6244424)
    What I want is a genetically engineered lawn - the blades of grass never grow to 3" and stop, and there is built-in resistance to Round-Up.

  • by Daeslin (95666) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:12PM (#6244433) Homepage
    Playing God with Dog. Or was that the other way around...
  • GM pets (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrLint (519792) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:16PM (#6244484) Journal
    NPR had an interview [npr.org] with a guy from Transgenic Pets [transgenicpets.com], about allergy free cats. What was funny was that the interviewer asked the guy repeatedly what was the benefit to the animal and all he could say was that 'it didn't hurt the animal at all'
  • by xchino (591175) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:17PM (#6244515)
    I read somewhere about a french artist who worked with a bioengineering company to produce a rabbit that glowed green (using jellyfish genes as well). There was some sort of scandal about him not getting to take it home to film it interacting as a family pet which was what the whole project was about in the first place.

    I'd like to see a pic of these fish though, or some video. I have no problem with a genetically modified pet. In the future, maybe we can have tigers that get no bigger than house cats, or something cool like that. Or photosynthetic pets that you don't have to feed! Just stick them outside for a few hours!
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:28PM (#6244678) Homepage Journal

    But the prospect of GM pets has outraged pet dealers. The nation's aquarium industry last week said it had backballed the Night Pearl. 'This is the thin end of the wedge,' said Keith Davenport, chief executive of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association. 'You could put all sorts of different genes in animals and do all sorts of damage.'

    Yeah, you could really hurt the bottom line of pet stores that don't carry GM fish.

    And that is the scenario that worries British aquarium enthusiasts. 'One idea being explored is to add genes - taken from cold water fish - that will allow tropical fish to live in unheated aquarium,' said Derek Lambert, editor of Today's Fishkeeper. 'Just imagine what would happen if they got released. You could end up with strange coloured GM tropical fish in our waters.'

    Oh my god! Not strange colored GM tropical fish in our waters! It'll be anarchy! Dogs and cats living together...

    Look, while some GM pets might be an issue in this respect - more successful breeds crowding out the less successful - that's how nature works anyway. If you improve on nature, well, you've helped nature along. However, some glowing fish are just going to be easier targets. They'll be lunch before you can say "cyalume".

    As for, say, pets engineered to not drop dander all over the place, it's likely that the dander is useful to them from a survival standpoint somehow, and they won't really be able to live in the wild. Proliferation of genes problem solved. Of course, if they are MORE successful, then it's an adaptation they would have developed eventually anyway. Since they haven't by this time (presumably they've had a while to make that advance) it will probably make them less successful.

    Now I know I'm taking a rather simplistic view here but someone has to take this stance, and it might as well be me. Those of you who are afraid of everything GM just because it's GM, and who want to stop GM research, are only holding us back. Everything we learn from GM plants and animals applies to our future, it teaches us something about the way genecodes work. Stop trying to keep us from our birthright, and let us learn. Thank you.

  • by dissy (172727) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:30PM (#6244704)

    So, this is an honest question here.

    Most people seem to believe that if these 'engineered' creatures get out, it would be doom somehow.

    The only difference between 'genetically engineered' and not that is if WE do it intentionally or nature does it at random.

    Because of the fact nature can introduce a new random change in genes to create something that does exist, is that reason to stop nature?
    Not at all.

    I aggree that if these things got out there would be changes. But no more than any other evolutionary change. Both are equally unpredictable.

    If this was to happen at random in nature, it would be amazing and wonderful, but if we caused it due to a desire, its evil bad and distructive, for the same exact reason, because we (Humans) dont know what it will do.

    Why is the reaction different?

    Lets just pretend for a second here that we can control whatever is needed to cause humans to grow gills. Granted that type of thing is exponentially complex, and it has almost no chances of happening at random, or really of us creating that atleast for a long long time.. but stick with this for a sec.

    Now, if we could do that to ourselfs, the same 'oh no its bad!' reaction would happen.
    But if it was a natural mutation.. for the same thing.. What then?
    Would it be bad then too?
    Would it be ok?
    Why?

    So lets look at small changes.
    GM grains. They are evil because, why again? They compete with life like everything else and happen to be better than the things they kill off?

    What about if we could genetically change a human to not be allergic to something (Say, milk) is that as equally as bad if these changed humans get out and reproduce?

    Right now we have both types of humans, the 'older' strains that are allergic to cows milk, and the 'newer' strain that isnt and can drink it.
    Its a small gene change but it is no different if we do it or it 'just happens'.

    A fish is a larger change. But its the same example, whats the differce if it just naturally happened? And who are we to say it never would?

    Maybe thats just a far out way of thinking, but no one that reacts aginst genetic engineering can explain to me (or anyone it seems) WHY its so bad?

    As just one more lifeform on this planet that came into being due to natures random gene changes, I cant see why ANY human is aginst changing genes, because your basically aginst your own existance.

    And if it really is nothing more than a difference between 'nature did it at random' and 'we caused it ourself' then wearing glasses, getting braces, having a tooth pulled, having any medial operation, all of those are non natural changes to our design that you should be aginst too (Yet rarely are, never in my experence with others aginst genetic research so far.)

    I'm not looking to change anyones mind, I'm looking for someone to try and change mine, in a way that makes sense.
    Lil help?
  • i see all this "implant a gene from another creature and it will wreak havoc on the ecosystem and stuff" comments

    hello? do you know how stupid you sound?

    look: there is informed, intelligent whistleblowing and alarmism, and then there is false, hysterical, fear of the unknown alarmism

    i think "frankenfood" is a good term to use for gm food another parallel to the frankenstein legend: remember the stupid peasants who wanted to burn frankenstein in their fear of something that, essentially, in the story as written by mary shelley, was actually HELPING them?

    do you not see how your uneducated fear of the unknown holds us back?

    are you going to stop the part of human nature that is curious and tinkers and is basically what has gotten us as far as it has in civilization?

    please.
    • I'm sure you'll.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msimm (580077) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:29PM (#6245530) Homepage
      Get plenty of responses. But I think your argument is a little one sided. My point would be we are all ignorant of the long term effects of rampant and unchecked use of genetic modifacation. And that alone is enough reason to consider moving carefully. Progress, sure but don't deny your own ignorance.

      The consequences of a such a young (and cash hungry) industry industry could be exceptional. Thats worth questioning. Look at the pharmacuetical industry and remember that their reach is somewhat limited. I mean do [businessweek.com] you really trust [coca.com.au] the pharmaceutical [bbc.co.uk] industry?

      Genetics as a science may be a little different as a industry.

  • patents/breeding? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:35PM (#6244785) Homepage
    So, to drag out and beat he proveribal Slashdot Glowing Dead horse..

    I assume these glowing genes are patented by somebody?

    Does this mean that if you buy these fish, breeding them will be illegal?

    Do you think that once, rather than this just being something that affects farmers (in faraway states) and computer programmers (who the average person has to learn an entire new vocabulary just to understand what the programmers are talking about), once the whole you-can-patent-anything thing starts to affect "the average person" in a very clear, noticeable way-- "Here are some dogs, that you paid money for. But you're banned from letting them breed, because they happen to contain some invisible series of DNA codes that, despite being part of this dog's very life, is the intellectual property of some random corporation."-- do you think once we reach that point, maybe we'll finally start to see public backlash against how far the u.s. patent paradigm has gone?

    Of course, if the people selling these fish want to keep their patents safe, they'd probably just make all the fish infertile. But then if all the fish are infertile, why are the environmentalists worried? Is it because they've seen "Jurassic park"? And what happens if some of the un-neutered versions somehow leak out on the black market (ebay)? Could they stop that? Is spaying a DMCA-applicable "method that effectively controls access to intellectual property"?
    • Re:patents/breeding? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by calethix (537786)
      ""Here are some dogs, that you paid money for. But you're banned from letting them breed, "

      My gf recently bought a puppy from a breeder. She had to sign a contract saying that she would have it neutered as soon as it was old enough or they can take it back. She's not suppose to breed it or enter it in dog shows. So I would say the answer to your question is yes.
      Incidentally, the humane society has a policy like this as well but I can see their argument for it a lot more than a breeder since they're d
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:38PM (#6244826)
    Okay, so now that it's possible, I want a neon orange fish with a big ass wing on the back, and 'VTEC' printed on the scales. Aww, yeah.

    And Nitrous boost! Give those dolphins & sharks something to talk about at the water cooler on Monday.
  • pictures here... (Score:3, Informative)

    by moodswung (682939) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:39PM (#6244833)
    Did some googling found pictures and more information here : http://www.mongabay.com/external/glowing_fish.htm [mongabay.com]
  • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:40PM (#6244847) Journal
    The Taikong Corporation has info on the fish on their Azoo [azoo.com.tw] site. Unfortunately, it appears to only be in Chinese, but you can get the idea from the pictures.

    Here are several [mongabay.com] stories and pictures of the fish.

    The pictures (and other sites such as this one [ornamental-fish-int.org]) imply that they are "fluorescent" fish, i.e., they glow when bathed in UV light, as opposed to fish that glow without a UV light source.

    • The continuous UV is probably doing more damage to the fish's genetics than we could do a hundred times over by putting in a luminescent protein gene!

      Hit him again, ma! I wants to see the fishy glow!
  • by aspeer (131086) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:41PM (#6244860)
    On the ABC (*Australian* Broadcasting Corporation) tonight was a piece about how Australian scientists may release a gentically engineered virus (possible a world first for this type of release) into the wild.

    The virus is a genetically engineered strain of the herpes virus from a mouse, and has been modified to induce an immune reaction in female mice around the egg, causing them to become infertile for around 6 months.

    Obviously this virus is targeted at mice only, and is aimed at reducing (if not eliminating) the frequency and severity of mice plagues in Australia.

    If successful it would remove the need for the literal tonnes of highly poisinous rodenticides that are now applied around farms, grain silos etc. Not to mention the economic benefit from an increase grain harvest quantity and quality.

    The results of an unsuccessful trial are left to the imagination of the reader ..

    They are now nearly at the stage where a permit is to be applied for that would allow for field trials of this virus.

    Of note is that last time similar field trials were undertaken (of a Calaci (sp?) virus) for rabbits, the virus escaped from the control area and rapidly spread across the entire continent. Luckily it appears to have had no adverse affects on native wildlife, although several childen lost pet rabbits to the virus (a vaccine is now available to protect the "Fluffys" of this world).

    You can read more about the virus in this [abc.net.au] transcript from a local Science show.

    Should make for interesting debate when/if the permit application becomes reality.

    • Aussies really ought to leave this alone...They already brought in (IIRC) the cane toad from the US in order to cut down on beetles, and lo and behold, the things (which are HUGE toads, btw) started eating every damn thing they could fit in their mouths, and since they are highly poisonous, multiply like rabbits.

      Moral: stop fucking with your carefully balanced ecology.
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:41PM (#6244866)
    Here I spend all this time perfecting my sychophant technique in preparation for our robot masters and it will more than likely be rendered moot when we're all killed off by mutant housepets gone wrong.

    Why do I even bother.....
  • Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unfortunateson (527551) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @01:52PM (#6244979) Journal
    But the prospect of GM pets has outraged pet dealers

    Please go look at a Chihuahua and an Irish Wolfhound, and tell me again about genetic manipulation. And creating new breeds named Peekapoo [dogbreedinfo.com] and Labradoodle [labradoodle-dogs.com] is as much an abomination as Mephisto's five-assed monkey.

    Then, take a look at the problems rampant in the pet population:

    • Deafness prevalent in Dalmatians
    • Congenital skin conditions in numerous cat and dog breeds
    • Hip displasia in a many of the larger breeds of dogs
    • Cardiomyopathy in Great Danes

    Who wouldn't want the genes fixed?

  • Yeah, (Score:3, Funny)

    by dupper (470576) <adamlouis@gmail.com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:05PM (#6245190) Journal
    I know we're probably supposed to be against this, but this is just really cool. Imagine: four, five, even six-assed monkeys!
  • by randomErr (172078) <ervin DOT kosch AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 19, 2003 @02:48PM (#6245833) Homepage Journal
    So, does this mean I will no longer be able to buy my Bonsai Kitten's anymore? [bonsaikitten.com]
  • by calethix (537786) on Thursday June 19, 2003 @03:10PM (#6246110) Homepage
    How about a poopless puppy?

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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