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Author Topic: Genetically-Altered Glowing Fish to Be Sold Soon
BrianB
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Glowing Fish to Be First Genetically Changed Pet
quote:
A little tropical fish that glows fluorescent red will be the first genetically engineered pet, a Texas-based company said on Friday.
{ snip }
Scientists have for decades used a gene called green fluorescent protein, taken from jellyfish, to help in research. The fish, sold under the trademarked name GloFish, carry a similar gene taken from a sea coral that makes it glow all the time.

Brian

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Syllavus
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And we need glowing fish because...? [Confused]

Some of the things that scientists spend their time doing I just DON'T understand.

Work on a cure for cancer? Naw I'm trying to see if I can make this fish glooooowww in the daaaaarrrkkkkk!

If there really is some scientific value to making glowing fish, other than the market there is for people who want to own glowing fish, I'd love to know.

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Chimera
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quote:
"They are very bright under any type of light," Blake said. "Under ultraviolet light in a dark room they will appear to be glowing in the dark."
Aren't there already fish like this? I remember having neons that glowed under a black light. I think my mutant catfish ate them [Frown] . Now I stick to my collection of betas. Oh, and my goldfish Icuras (the second) that shares a tank with an ugly snail. It is for the lesson that we enjoy the glitering, pretty fish that polutes the tank but not the snail that works to keep the tank clean. Looks ain't everything. I don't need no stinkin' glowin' fishes.

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chillas
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quote:
Originally posted by Syllavus:
And we need glowing fish because...? [Confused]

From the article:

quote:

"These fish were bred to help fight environmental pollution," Blake said in a telephone interview. "They were bred to fluoresce in the presence of toxins."



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Red Squirrel
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quote:
Originally posted by Syllavus:

If there really is some scientific value to making glowing fish, other than the market there is for people who want to own glowing fish, I'd love to know.

There's very little use for any GM products- most of them don't even "work". Field trials in the US have shown that GM crops modified to be more resistant to insects, fungus etc with growing agents need just as much fungicide, herbicide, pesticide and fertiliser sloshed on them as conventional crops. (And before anyone flames me I don't have a ref- I got this down from a lecture on biorisk the other day and the lecturer did give cites only he was going too fast [Roll Eyes] ).
Hmmm- it worries me that if I go to nearly anywhere out of Europe I could be eating GM products without any knowledge- over here they're banned and there's a huge move against them.

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theloneabalone
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quote:
Originally posted by Syllavus:
And we need glowing fish because...? [Confused]

Some of the things that scientists spend their time doing I just DON'T understand.

Work on a cure for cancer? Naw I'm trying to see if I can make this fish glooooowww in the daaaaarrrkkkkk!

If there really is some scientific value to making glowing fish, other than the market there is for people who want to own glowing fish, I'd love to know.

green fluorescent protein (GFP) is a very small molecule that is easily produced in any organism if you introduce and transfect the gene into the cells of the plant or animal,and also individual cells. you can use gfp to track individual cells and observe their response to drugs or their progression over time, since it is not toxic or deleterious in any way to any living cell. guess what? this is the most used biomarker for living cells in most of biological research, including....cancer. on behalf of all my fellow scientists, sillavus, assume the position.. [fish] [fish] [fish] . the fact that someone decided to introduce the gene into a fish species SOLELY for recreational use is another matter. actually zebrafish are extremely useful for developmental science and quite vauable for science in general.

Lexi, I'll touch up on the Importance of GM food in a minute (my hands hurt). in the mean time ,would you like a wild type ear of corn? you can enjoy all 12 of its kernels..... [Razz]


thelone "don't knock the science, knock the bored scientist" abalone

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BringTheNoise
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The reason most of these pointless things are made is simply commercial. You can quickly and fairly cheaply make a glowing fish, and there's always some sucker who wants one...

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Syllavus
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From the article, it seems like they're creating these fish to sell as pets. "Look at my cool glowing fish! I named him Neon!" And not for any reasons that have to do with scientific research. As for the brief mention of helping the environment, can anyone offer up any explanation how the green glow would help counteract pollutants in the water? Or would they just use the fish as pollutant detectors?

If that's the case, sucks to be that fish. [Razz]

And hold your trouts at bay abalone, I know that flourescent proteins are used in medical research, it's just these glowing fish specifically that I was questioning. [Smile] I remember hearing about this a while back and it seemed that they wanted to specifically market them as funky new wave pets, not for any sort of research or scientific benefit. But I could be mistaken.

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theloneabalone
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from what I've read on the web, the strain was originally designed to track the neural crest migration, but the viurs used to transfect the gene into the basal cells went a bit further than intended, so the whole fish glows, not just the spinal chord. instead of discarding the whole strain as a failed experiment, someone said, hey, what if we sell it as aquarium fish?? the rest is history. i'll try and look up the source.

ETA: could not find the news bite I read (thanks yahoo [Mad] ) but here is something similar to what the original strain was supposed to accomplish, according to what I read before: nerual crest development on zebrafish.

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num, me vexo?

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Doc J.
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Correct.

These fish are a valid research tool, but as a byproduct they also make funky pets. Not sure what the moral arguments might be.

ETA: Yes Syllavus, the fish can be used as pollution detectors - one of my old colleagues developed a system that detected chemicals linked to breast cancer in aquatic systems. I'll have to check whether he ever got approval for that study. I only got to work with GM yeast - and no, I didn't use them to make GM beer [Wink]

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Candy Q. on Channel 2
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So it's pretty much the case of some pretty valid scientific research with some non-scientific but recreational byproducts. Serendipity, if you will.

-Candy "Wouldn't mine owning one if it weren't for the fact I'm a serial fish killer" Q.

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theloneabalone
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now what's really wild, I remember from my childhood these "neon" crystal tetras. they would be almost completely clear except for very colorful markings along their dorsal and ventral edges. these were awesome colors, purples or orange, chartreuse, green, etc. took me a while to realize somebody breeds these fish, then takes a brush or something similar and actually paints the stripes unto the fish scales! that was beyond my comprehension. as are purple or hto pink chicks that they used to give away as prizes in carnivals not long ago.

thelone "chicks: the martyrs of all carnivals" abalone

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Auntie Witch
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The way I see it is, if they sell the fish and use the profits to help fund more of their research, I might even consider tossing one or two in my tank. If they're just using the fish to make a few bucks, then the morality of it becomes questionable. I'd need more info on this one to decide where I stand.

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Doc J.
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quote:
Originally posted by ElphabaFaye:
The way I see it is, if they sell the fish and use the profits to help fund more of their research, I might even consider tossing one or two in my tank. If they're just using the fish to make a few bucks, then the morality of it becomes questionable.

Er, I doubt that it's the scientists themselves making money out of the fish sales. This is just some company that has seen a novel application for new technology.
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Richard W
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There are pictures of some different transgenic fluorescent fish (green ones, this time) on this page. They're part of a transgenic artwork "by" Eduardo Kac, who also "created" Alba the fluorescent bunny, pictured on the second of those pages.

I put "created" and "by" in inverted commas, because clearly the artist didn't actually do the genetic engineering himself. In fact, this page about Alba's possibly untimely death says that the rabbit was just picked out of an existing litter of fluorescent rabbits when Kac visited the lab, and it doesn't glow anything like as brightly or uniformly as in Kac's photograph; the people who bred it say that the photo itself is a fabrication.

Kac originally wanted to keep his rabbit as a pet, but apparently it died first and it was dubious as to whether he would have been allowed to remove it from the lab anyway. So the fish in the OP would probably count as the first transgenic pets, if the story is true.

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Candy Q. on Channel 2
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quote:
Originally posted by theloneabalone:
now what's really wild, I remember from my childhood these "neon" crystal tetras. they would be almost completely clear except for very colorful markings along their dorsal and ventral edges. these were awesome colors, purples or orange, chartreuse, green, etc. took me a while to realize somebody breeds these fish, then takes a brush or something similar and actually paints the stripes unto the fish scales! that was beyond my comprehension. as are purple or hto pink chicks that they used to give away as prizes in carnivals not long ago.

thelone "chicks: the martyrs of all carnivals" abalone

Chicks? Really? How long ago was this? I've been to a dozen carnivals, but I've never seen a chick given away! I've always seen goldfish. Though, nowadays, they've changed it to coupons for free goldfish at some local pet store... Which makes sense.
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theloneabalone
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last time I saw this in the sates wasaround 1981 in a county fair in San Antonio TX. In Mexico it's way more common. countless moms face the horrible decision "pet or dinner?", when the chick grows enough to be considered poultry. this happens most in rural areas, but I have still seen it during the octoberfest in Guadalajara (four years ago).

thelone "does a purple chicken lay grape-flavored eggs?? [Confused] " abalone

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Cervus
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quote:
Chicks? Really? How long ago was this? I've been to a dozen carnivals, but I've never seen a chick given away!
They gave away chicks, ducks, bunnies as well as goldfish at various fairs in the Miami area in the 80's. My elementary school fair was one. I always wanted a chick but usually wound up with mollies or tetras that died within two days. [Frown]

Cer "surprised they lasted that long" vus

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Dark Jaguar
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I just wish that genes couldn't be patented. They are being DISCOVERED, not invented!
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CatPurrson
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Question: If you put a whole bunch of glowing fish in an aquarium, can you use it to replace your kid's nightlight?

Okay, I'll save you the trouble: [fish]

[lol]

Seriously though, pretty much every food we consume has been genetically engineered in a way-- selective breeding, anyone? GMO are just a way of trying to achieve the same thing at a MUCH faster rate. It's just that right now the science of gene splicing is still in its infancy. The biggest problem is in not knowing the consequences of adding extremely foreign genes to an organism. How does one even begin to test such things to see if they're safe?

I won't say that I'd never consume a GM foodstuff, but I'd have to be pretty darned convinced of its safety before I'd knowingly eat it. (Where's a lab rat when you need one?)

I might buy a glow-in-the-dark fish for a pet, but not for supper! [Razz] What I need is a cat that glows in the dark so I don't trip over it at night! [Big Grin]

CatPurrson

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