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The first genetically altered pet, a glowing fish, is on sale just in time for the holidays. Scientists say GloFish are safe, but some worry technology has gone too far, Lee Cowan reports
The resulting hybrid cells segregated human chromosomes quickly and retained one to three human chromosomes including chromosome 17 that carries the human genes for thymidine kinase and galactokinase (EC 126.96.36.199). Single hybrid cells from five independent clones containing human chromosome 17 were injected into mouse blastocysts bearing several genetic markers that affect the coat color phenotype and strain-specific enzyme variants in order to detect tissue differentiation derived from the injected cells.
Mouse With Human Brain May Live
Geneticist Fred Gage injected embryonic human cells into two-week-old fetal mice as they developed in the womb. When the mice matured, some human stem cells survived and became functional components of the mice's brains and nervous systems.
By implanting human brain cells (grown from a human embryo's stem cells) into a mouse engineered to have Alzheimer's, Dr. Keyes inadvertently made a remarkable and startling discovery: she not only cured the mouse's Alzheimer's Disease, but the animal soon developed the relative intelligence of a human being.
Genetically modified primates that glow green and pass the trait on to their offspring could aid the fight against human disease.
Genetically modified monkeys give birth to designer babies
Transgenic fish pose potential threats to natural ecosystems and native species populations that are not fully understood and remain insufficiently studied. However, it is known that:
• Fifty percent of all intentionally introduced fish have had harmful economic or environmental effects(3);
• Sixty-six percent of all unintentionally introduced fish have had harmful economic or environmental effects(3);
• Millions of farmed fish escape from open water facilities each year and contaminate native populations(4); and
• It is inevitable that transgenic fish will escape from aquaculture pens or field trial parameters.(3)
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 3, 2003 - Citing ethical concerns, state regulators Wednesday refused to allow sales of the first bioengineered household pet, a zebra fish that glows fluorescent. GloFish are expected to go on sale everywhere else next month.
Several companies are already involved in pet manufacture and sale, or at least in banking genes (or taking cash deposits) for future manufacturing.
What happens if a glow in the dark rabbit gets loose and breeds with other “normal” rabbits? Nocturnal animals would have a heyday feasting on easy prey. While scientists say that this would not happen the fact is that genetically modified material has all ready gotten loose in the environment and caused problems. The problems between Canadian farmers and Monsanto are a good example of this.
Whether you think it is a good idea or a bad one it is, at the very least, interesting. Whether glow in the dark animals become the next popular, designer pet remains to be seen.
On March 3 the cover story of the New York Daily News trumpeted a simple imperative to “Design Your Baby.” The screaming headline related to a service that would try to allow parents to choose their baby’s hair, eye and skin color. A day later the Fertility Institutes reconsidered. The organization made an “internal, self regulatory decision” to scrap the project because of “public perception” and the “apparent negative societal impacts involved,” it noted in a statement.
Parental demand for “designer babies” screened to lack faulty genes will grow dramatically over the next decade, with new discoveries about the influence of DNA on health, a leading geneticist has predicted.
Future Generations is about humanitarian eugenics.
Humanitarian eugenics strives to leave a genuine legacy
of love to future generations: good health, high intelligence,
and noble character. We advocate measures to improve the innate
quality of humankind which are entirely voluntary. Please be forewarned
that most ideas expressed on this website are "politically incorrect." We aspire
to total honesty, believing that it is the only policy for people with integrity,
and furthermore, that in the long run, honesty is far-and-away the most compassionate
policy. If we ever hope to solve the problems which face our species, it's imperative
that we first look at them objectively, and assess the scientific evidence without
bias. If the truth about genetics and behavior, about eugenics, or about
race, is considered "taboo," and falsehoods are the only socially
acceptable opinions, then this is truly a sad state of affairs,
but we won't let it deter us.
Two couples whose families have been ravaged by breast cancer are to become the first to screen embryos to prevent them having children at risk of the disease, The Times has learnt.
Another human? 100% - All humans have the same genes, but some of these genes contain sequence differences that make each person unique.
A chimpanzee? 98% - Chimpanzees are the closest living species to humans.
A mouse? 92% - All mammals are quite similar genetically.
A fruit fly? 44% - Studies of fruit flies have shown how shared genes govern the growth and structure of both insects and mammals.
Yeast? 26% - Yeasts are single-celled organisms, but they have many housekeeping genes that are the same as the genes in humans, such as those that enable energy to be derived from the breakdown of sugars.
A weed (thale cress)? 18% - Plants have many metabolic differences from humans. For example, they use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide gas to sugars. But they also have similarities in their housekeeping genes.
The problem is that most of the three-billion-letter code carried by human DNA -- the human genome -- appears to be made of "junk," filler that doesn't perform any important function, he said. Only 1.5 percent of the whole genome is made up of actual genes -- stretches of DNA holding a recipe for making some kind of biological substance.
Green said they suspect that an additional 3.5 percent of human DNA serves some important purpose. To sleuth out the useful parts from all the junk, they reasoned that they should look for those stretches of code shared by many different creatures.
The rest of it is pretty much junk it seems.
All life is based on DNA, and just as human kinship can be linked by DNA, so can species. Humans share more than 98% of their DNA with chimpanzees, and 30% with a lettuce.
Meanwhile, the regulation on how much human DNA can be put into an animal is vague and scientists are now trying to determine where the line should be drawn on experiments that use human material in animals.
Martin Bobrow, chairman of the group conducting the study, said they are trying to work out what is reasonable. He and others said they recognized people might be nervous about experiments where animals were given human features or brain cells.
However, some experts, like David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, an independent watchdog, are not convinced such experiments are warranted.
"This is a classic example of science going too fast. If you cannot firmly say exactly what it is you're creating, you should not do it," he said.
"Scientists can now begin trying to understand the functional importance of these sequences and their variations," Kidd said.
First Gene-Altered Monkey Hailed as Research Tool / Opponents concerned about ethical issues
"It's immoral to use these animals as nothing more than test tubes with tails," she said.
But Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said "it is defensible to sacrifice a small number of primates" if it leads to quicker advances on diseases that afflict humans and can't be studied well in mice.