"Green Design" Or More Mad Scientists Making Transgenic Animals

transgenic monkey

Collage of BBC and Nature photos

I'm no fan of genetic engineering and I don't particularly like what Japanese scientists have done to monkeys. Inserting genes to make them glow green in the dark just isn't right. Yet, this is the kind of research people get awards for, and the promise of "treatments for a range of diseases." Oh, really?

BBC notes that the "work raises a number of ethical questions about deliberately exposing a bloodline of animals to such diseases."

Artists like Eduardo Kac has been trying for years to raise attention to get people to think about these issues. Why are we not better equipped to say "no" to these "green design" experiments? According to BBC:

Erika Sasaki of the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan, and her colleagues, have introduced a gene into marmoset embryos that allows them to build green fluorescent protein (GFP) in their tissues. The protein is so-called because it glows green in a process known as fluorescence. GFP was originally isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which glows green when exposed to blue light.

Eduardo Kac's transgenic artwork is called GFP Bunny and comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit. It also includes the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. "GFP Bunny" was realized in 2000 and first presented publicly in Avignon, France.

The "GFP Bunny" project is a complex social event that starts with the creation of a chimerical animal that does not exist in nature (i.e., "chimerical" in the sense of a cultural tradition of imaginary animals, not in the scientific connotation of an organism in which there is a mixture of cells in the body)...

From GFP Bunny

France, like Japan, has had intense discussions about GMO and transgenic foods, and the public has largely rejected this development, instead opting for GMO-free regions.

Mad scientists, mad artists! What are we to do or say who oppose this kind of work? All I can do is to buy organic food, hoping that no genetically modified pollen has spread from GMO-farmers, as it is wont to do. As for animals, especially the ones that are cloned, Japan's government has this week announced that there is so much opposition among consumers and farmers, that they will go back and review plans to allow meat from such animals to be sold. Consumer organizations in Japan are hoping that no such products will be imported from countries like the United States, where meat from cloned, transgenic cows has been approved by the Bush Administration FDA.

More Transgenic, Cloned Animals:
Cotton Bollworm Shown To Resist Bt Produced By Transgenic Cotton
More GM Tinkering: Sticking Rabbit Genes into Poplars
FDA Set to Clear Sale of Cloned Livestock
Food from Clones has Questionable Benefits, Certain Drawbacks

Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp

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