Super Fast Growing Fish
AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon grows twice as fast as the conventional variety, the photo shows two same-age salmon with the genetically altered one in the rear. The company claims the fish has the same taste as normal salmon; but it is still up in the air whether the fish is safe to eat.
Genetically engineered Atlantic salmon
has an added growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce growth hormone year-round. Scientists were able to keep the hormone active by using a gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout, which acts as an “on switch” for the hormone.
Web Spinning Goats
Spider silk, among the most valuable materials in nature, used in artificial ligaments to parachute cords, but it’s very hard to produce on a commercial scale. In 2000, Nexia Biotechnologies announced that it made a goat that produced spiders’ web protein in its milk.
Researchers inserted a spiders’ dragline silk gene into the goats’ DNA in such a way that the goats would make the silk protein only in their milk. This “silk milk” could then be used to manufacture a web-like material called Bioste
This Cabbage Contains Venom
Scientists have now taken the gene that programs poison in scorpion tails and found ways to combine it with cabbage. Why would they want to create venomous cabbage
? To limit pesticide use while still preventing caterpillars from damaging cabbage crops. These genetically modified cabbages would produce scorpion poison that kills caterpillars when they bite leaves — but the toxin is modified so it isn’t harmful to humans.
Glow in the dark cats
In 2007, scientists altered a cat’s DNA to make it glow in the dark and then took that DNA and cloned other cats from it — creating, fluorescent felines
. Here’s how they did it: The researchers took skin cells from Turkish Angora female cats and used a virus to insert genetic instructions for making red fluorescent protein. Then they put the gene-altered nuclei into the eggs for cloning, and the cloned embryos were implanted back into the donor cats — making the cats the surrogate mothers for their own clones.
What’s the point of creating a pet that doubles as a nightlight? Scientists say the ability to engineer animals with fluorescent proteins will enable them to artificially create animals with human genetic diseases.
Plants To Fight Polution
Scientists at the University of Washington are engineering poplar trees that can clean up contamination sites
by absorbing groundwater pollutants through their roots. The plants then break the pollutants down into harmless byproducts that are incorporated into their roots, stems and leaves or released into the air.
In laboratory tests, the transgenic plants are able to remove as much as 91 percent of trichloroethylene — the most common groundwater contaminant at U.S. Superfund sites — out of a liquid solution. Regular poplar plants removed just 3 percent of the contaminant.
Malaria Fighting Mosquitoes
Each year, one million deaths are caused by malaria, and another 300 million people are infected—so it stands to reason that scientists should develop ways to end the fight against this disease. With the inspiration of fighting fire with fire, scientists have come up with malaria fighting mosquitoes. These types of mosquitoes have been genetically modified to develop resistance against the plasmodium parasite—making it near impossible to infect the host mosquito. But past experiences have shown that plasmodium parasites are able to quickly evolve and develop an immunity to anything that threatens to destroy them. So would it be better if scientists just killed all mosquitoes?
A team of scientists have banded together to create a type of mosquito that are supposed to pass on a “sudden death” gene to their offspring, which will cause those baby mosquitoes to die of old age before they reach sexual maturity. However, the devastating ecological effect must be taken into consideration: if mosquitoes were eradicated, organisms like bats, which depend on mosquitoes for food would quickly face extinction as well.
Herman the Bull, the first genetically modified bovine, was created in 1990 to humanize his calves’ milk, but we’ve come a long way since him. We now have cows that are less horny and resistant to mad cow disease and udder infections. We can even determine their sex or turn out a Belgian Blue.
Although the Belgian Blue was not created through genetic modifications, you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The Belgian Blue is a breed that has a defective myostatin gene (the gene that is responsible for muscle inhibition) that results in double muscling. Belgian Blues are said to have more lean meat and reduced fat content, which leads to significantly more health risks (and inbreeding) than other breeds and puts a premium price on these steaks.