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Pollution-collecting Fish

Clean the dirty oceans with GM fish
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(+3, -4)
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We regularly hear about pollution in the food chain, and how it can end up getting collected in the systems of certain animals. Well, why not use that as a way of getting rid of the pollution? Design creatures whose job it is to suck up pollution and store it in special sacks or glands.

The most likely application is in the ocean. I can imagine a fish, probably shark-derived, which smells and seeks out certain sorts of pollution. Polluted water passing through its gills, and polluted creatures that it eats, will pass the nasty stuff quickly through the bloodstream, straight to a special collection of organs. A kidney-like organ filters the pollutant straight out, while a group of bladder-like things store it.

As a bladder grows, it develops a hard shell around it. When it's full, the shell seals itself and the thing gets excreted as a safe little parcel. A new one grows in its place.

The creature will be designed to depend on the given pollutant(s), so it will thrive in areas where other creatures are in trouble. Its immune system could even be made chemically dependent, so that when the ocean is clean again the creature dies out.

sadie, Jun 28 2002

Baked, by whales :( http://members.aol.com/geiniku/found.html
Whales are doing pretty well mopping up mercury & PCBs already. [pfperry, Jun 28 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

so who is top carnivore? 8 mate? http://www.traffic....le_sharks_meat.html
[po, Jun 28 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       As if getting attacked by a shark isn't terrifying enough already. If this baby were ever baked the shark would be toxic and probably mutant as well. I love it!
sild, Jun 28 2002

       'Boned for GM magic.
To a lesser extent, some creatures (snails, I think) do this anyway, but shirley it's better not to pollute in the first place, rather than propagate the notion that pollution's OK because it gets fixed automatically.
angel, Jun 28 2002

       // shirley it's better not to pollute in the first place //   

       But time machine magic is ok? The world is already a very polluted place, that we have to live in.
sadie, Jun 28 2002

       Fish and other aquatic organisms are already very good at filtering out the various harmful chemicals which industry are so fond of pumping into our water ways. Oestrogen mimics are turning male fish into lady fish. Heavy metals bioaccumlate in bivalves and poison humans when we eat them.
chronic irony, Jun 28 2002

       // some creatures (snails, I think) do this anyway //
// Baked, by whales //
// Heavy metals bioaccumlate in bivalves and poison humans when we eat them. //

       I realize that lots of creatures are doing it already. That's precisely the problem, and this is the solution.
sadie, Jun 28 2002

       Sorry, [sadie], but you've not really presented a solution. Simply suggesting that [some creature or plant] could be genetically modified so as to [perform some function] isn't a solution, it's a WIBNI or it's magic. If you could suggest a realistic source for the gene which could be transplanted, that would be a start.
I'm not opposed to the notion of de-polluting the oceans, but I see nothing here which would help.
angel, Jun 28 2002

       Anything that ate the toxin-consuming fish would most likely be poisoned itself. You would not only have to stop human beings all round the world from eating these polluto-fishies, but also stop other fish, cetaceans, and other animals who eat fish from feeding on them. This is going to cause as many problems as it cures.
pottedstu, Jun 28 2002

       Pottedstu: I disagree. The point is that sharks (as suggested) are "top carnivore" and are not predated ...   

       2nd thought: GM krill (plankton). Keep them in huge nets or cages, safe from whales etc. Let them suck up the pollutants, then harvest them. Incinerate them and recover the metal ores for re-use or storage/disposal. Could be done with seaweed too. Suspect this is alreadt being researched.
8th of 7, Jun 28 2002

       so no-one is coming to my shark meat barbie then?
po, Jun 28 2002

       And then terrorists capture some toxic sharks and detonate them in a harbor... Oh no! It's a dirty shark bomb attack. OK, maybe not.   

       I am curious what happens to the "safe little parcel" that gets excreted. It sounds dangerous to have them littered all over the ocean floor.
dag, Jun 28 2002

       specially trained crabs collect them and roll them to shore to be collected and processed by giant cockroaches that escape and have to be hunted down by hunter/knights thereby reinstating the feudal system
chud, Jun 29 2002

thumbwax, Jun 29 2002


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