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Glowing GM Markers

Cripple GM farm animals so they don't damage the Gene Pool.
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There's a small uproar in the environmental community going on about the possible farming of engineered salmon. The engineered salmon grow up faster and have more muscle tissue. The fear is that if the salmon escape and breed the natural salmon will be out-competed. This could have many unpredictable repercussions. I propose that the growing of engineered fish be allowed. BUT, engineered fish should be given an evolutionary disadvantage that will harm them should they escape to the wild. It's possible to make animals glow using a certain gene from jellyfish. You've probably heard of the process, it's been used on everything from rabbits to monkeys. I say make the GM fish glow in the dark. That way, if they escape, their offspring will be easy for predators to find and kill. They will not successfully compete with the wild salmon. The gene will not affect the quality of the salmon meat, though as a bonus, the meat will probably glow under a blacklight. That would be a sure-fire way to identify the GM meat for people who choose not to partake of it.
Madcat, Nov 22 2003

Glofish http://www.news8aus...?ArID=90648&SecID=2
[TIB, Oct 05 2004]

glowing pigs http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=370
The Green, Green Sheep of Home [copycat042, Aug 24 2008]


       Glowing fish? It would be a hit at the swankier dance clubs... Electro salmon pate anyone?
SullenGrrl, Nov 22 2003

       It only really glows under a blacklight. You'd need to do a little bit more than I suggested to make it glow -all the time- while its alive but it would still glow a bit regardless. It would also be brightly colored. Actually come to think of it changing the color of the fish's skin so it's not camoflaged might work by itself.
Madcat, Nov 22 2003

       Well if you believe that you're an id... (just kidding)   

       sorry. That's just not very consistent with any understanding of Genetics I've ever been presented with.
Madcat, Nov 23 2003

       Actually, yes. Most animals see a completely different range of colors than we do. And even if they don't glow their camoflage will be shot to hell.
Madcat, Nov 23 2003

       We could just farm GM salmon way inland, and only allow the fish to leave the farm after primary processing (freezing, filleting etc).
TIB, Nov 24 2003

       Farming salmon often involves profit-motivated pressure to confine a relatively large number of them in a relatively small space. This inevitably makes the transmission of disease easier, and to counteract this many chemicals (e.g. antibiotics) are used. For this reason alone (even ignoring the moral/cruelty dimension) salmon farming should be discouraged. The use of salmon which have been artificially messed with to better meet our needs is an offence against nature and typical of our assessment that we know better than eons of evolutionary progress. No no no! Salmon bone to you.
dobtabulous, Nov 25 2003

       Check out the link....
TIB, Nov 27 2003

       Fish that escape would likely find themselves breeding with wild specimens. This could pose problems if you're adding genetic markers, because your glowing GM marker might be on a different gene from whatever makes these farm salmon faster growing, with more muscles. In that case, the offspring might glow in the dark, without being stronger, or might be stronger without glowing in the dark.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 18 2008

       [dobtabulous]: you had me up till the "offense against nature" stuff. You realise that almost everything you eat has been "artificially" messed with to better meet our needs, by generations of selective breeding?
BunsenHoneydew, Aug 24 2008

       To me disliking GM food is a bit too simple.   

       Some DNA changes and bred traits are fine; eventually we will find ones that cause cancer or kill people. So because it's GM- means nothing, more important is how it was GM.   

       Is there any food in a grocery store that has not been artificially bred? I did eat some wild black berries in a park in Oregon, and (on a whim) a few grass weeds here in Minnesota. Otherwise it has been years since and non-bred food has touched my lips. Seriously. Organic foods are all bred. Wild rice is bred, all meat (even range fed).   

       Maybe we can make them put the DNA up on the web for consumer inspection?
Bcrosby, Aug 25 2008


       //This could pose problems if you're adding genetic markers, because your glowing GM marker might be on a different gene from whatever makes these farm salmon faster growing, with more muscles.//   

       It would pretty obviously be a different gene. You don't even mean 'chromosome'. You probably mean 'unlinked'. You can of course fuse protein-coding regions (the business end of a gene) together. But you don't do that unless there's need to, because the functions generally become less efficient. In any case, inserting genes side-by-side to ensure that they are linked is hardly a big difficulty.   

       Going on about needing blacklights (that is, UV light) is a bit of a red herring[1]. You're thinking of one way of doing it, using the gene encoding GFP (green fluorescent protein), from jellyfish. Which is generally inobtrusive but easily screenable by humans - as Madcat notes. If you think glowing when close to the surface is not enough of a handicap, you could instead use bioluminescence instead; firefly luciferase is already well-used. Or something else, who cares what the disadvantage is...   

       The real problem with this suggestion is that the salmon farmer wants to improve his/her stock, not cripple them! In any case, if growing faster, more muscley &c were really an advantage in the native environment, the wild fish would be doing that already. They're actually adapted to the normal conditions. The potential GM alterations won't make the farmed fish more 'fit' in the wild any more than artificially selected broiler chickens are at risk of escaping and becoming a major pest.   

       Escaped fish would therefore be at a disadvantage. There may be local genetic pollution, but it should be self-limiting if you've not killed off all the wild fish anyway.   

       [1]Have you heard of RFP?
Loris, Aug 29 2008

       [in the news] If a million glowing monkeys typed on a million keyboards, would they write the DNA chain to a whole new species?
RayfordSteele, May 28 2009


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