Saturday, August 4, 2007

Are You Ready for the BIO-Age?

The nation's first genetically altered household pet is a zebra fish that glows fluorescent.

The normally black-and-silver zebra fish were inserted with genes from sea anemones or jellyfish to turn them red or green, and glow under black or ultraviolet lights.

The GloFish doesn’t really look like Nemo. It is a zebra fish, and Nemo’s a clown fish. But in the wake of Finding Nemo, demand for clown fish at tropical fish stores soared. And stocks ran low.

The GloFish™ became the next best thing. It’s a fish that glows. Suddenly, every kid had to get one in their aquarium.
One hundred thousand fish were reported sold in less than a month at US$18.60 apiece

The inspectors said the fish have not been scientifically researched enough in Canada yet. There were too many questions, like what happens if somebody swallows one or the fish gets released into the environment.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration says there’s no reason to regulate the GloFish™ because they pose no threat to the food supply. The FDA also says there’s no evidence they pose any threat to the environment that's any greater than the regular zebra fish, which have not been genetically modified.

Still, a group called the centre for Food and Safety has launched a lawsuit against the FDA for its failure to properly regulate the GloFish™.

California blocks sales of 'Glofish' 'An abuse of the power we have over life'

Yorktown Technologies of Texas, which has the license to market the fish, and the state of Florida, in which the fish are grown, argued before the commission that the altered fish tolerate cold less than natural zebra fish, and they could not survive in California waters.

"Welcome to the future. Here we are, playing around with the genetic bases of life," Schumchat said. "At the end of the day, I just don't think it's right to produce a new organism just to be a pet.

"To me, this seems like an abuse of the power we have over life, and I'm not prepared to go there today."

Since when did a product of nature become an intellectual property of another person?

This scientific advance introduced new questions on ethics and morality that may have not been thought of before. Science has advance so quickly that the legal department should better think fast. Such legal issue I think will become a challenge to the legislation as well as to the Supreme Court.

Is it ethical to introduce these organisms to the environment? Following Darwin’s theory of evolution, it took nature billions of years for the organisms that we see today to evolve in order to adapt to the environment and coexist with others and it will only take years or even a baffling number of days to change the face of nature.

This article was taken from diverse sources for E.A.

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