Genetic manipulation

Ebreus

Member
A thread a few days ago has me wondering other people's thoughts on modifying the genome of fish.
I don't see it as being significantly different to selective breeding. It's a tool, not any more good or bad than a hammer.
I think it'd be a good idea to have some amount of research be necessary to ensure that the edits aren't harmful to what we're editing. How we'd get that would likely be a matter of politics, which the forum politely requests we don't get into so I'm going to stop here.
 

MaximumRide14

Member
I guess we'll never know the extent to which genetic transformation negatively affects a fish. If the DNA is really only jellyfish plasmid, I don't know if it affects the fish in any way besides their appearance. I think it's better than dyeing them mainly because they don't have to strip their slime coat for them to glow.
 

aussieJJDude

Member
Genetic modification is simply the insertion of a DNA sequence which will tend express a protein. Msot proteins won't directly kill an indivual, so its unlikely it will ever negatively affect an animal.
 
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Ebreus

Member
MaximumRide14 said:
I guess we'll never know the extent to which genetic transformation negatively affects a fish. If the DNA is really only jellyfish plasmid, I don't know if it affects the fish in any way besides their appearance. I think it's better than dyeing them mainly because they don't have to strip their slime coat for them to glow.
We could asses to what extent hard data changes from a population of unmodified fish.
Simple questions like:
Do members of the modified population kept in identical conditions to a unmodified population have higher levels of stress hormone in their system?
Are members of the modified population more disease prone than members of the unmodified population?
Is the average lifespan of a member of the modified population shorter than those of the unmodified population?
 
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Ebreus

Member
aussieJJDude said:
Genetic modification is simply the insertion of a DNA sequence which will tend express a protein. Msot proteins won't directly kill an indivual, so its unlikely it will ever negatively affect an animal.
For the most part I agree. I think most modifications won't harm an individual organism... then we'll get somebody who wants to give Bettas that already bite their tails even larger tails.
 

MaximumRide14

Member
Ebreus said:
We could asses to what extent hard data changes from a population of unmodified fish.
Simple questions like:
Do members of the modified population kept in identical conditions to a unmodified population have higher levels of stress hormone in their system?
Are members of the modified population more disease prone than members of the unmodified population?
Is the average lifespan of a member of the modified population shorter than those of the unmodified population?
I've read about environmental concerns regarding how a modified population could be introduced in the wild, where they could interbreed with a nonmodified population. They would pass on the fluorescent gene, which could have a number of effects (diseases, different breeding rates, etc.)
 

pagoda

Member
Whether or not any manipulation is harmful is probably a debate that could last decades......short term, maybe not, long term and if the animal goes on to breed, then perhaps lifespan and general health could potentially be affected, look at Betta fish that started out plain red or blue and have expanded into a rainbow's worth of different colourways but at the cost of their health and lifespan....I am not convinced that anyone truly knows what all the possible side effects are or what effect they actually have 5, 10, 15+ years down the line and in future generations

As to my own personal preference, I like my animals to be as nature intended and not genetically altered in any way, shape or form.
 

aquafrogg

Member
I honestly just don’t understand the visual appeal. The tanks that come with glofish are inhospitable for the most part and definitely do not replicate any sort of natural body of water. It’s all glowing under black light for goodness sake.

Then again I’m the type of person to feel as if we are responsible to let our pets live the most natural and happy lives possible.
 
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Ebreus

Member
MaximumRide14 said:
I've read about environmental concerns regarding how a modified population could be introduced in the wild, where they could interbreed with a nonmodified population. They would pass on the fluorescent gene, which could have a number of effects (diseases, different breeding rates, etc.)
Yes, that is a concern. Though it isn't a concern unique to genetic modification. Common Plecos or Water Lettuce into the river near were I live could be an ecological disaster and yet I could own both if I wanted to and there'd be little but my own knowing better keeping but from doing so.

Edit: Just realized how badly I butchered the only language I speak in this post. Going to leave it because it's almost funny how bad it is.

pagoda said:
Whether or not any manipulation is harmful is probably a debate that could last decades......short term, maybe not, long term and if the animal goes on to breed, then perhaps lifespan and general health could potentially be affected, look at Betta fish that started out plain red or blue and have expanded into a rainbow's worth of different colourways but at the cost of their health and lifespan....I am not convinced that anyone truly knows what all the possible side effects are or what effect they actually have 5, 10, 15+ years down the line and in future generations

As to my own personal preference, I like my animals to be as nature intended and not genetically altered in any way, shape or form.
Yes, it is quite sadly the case that we generally don't know what we've done until a few of our own generations have passed since it got started. Though I don't believe we should stunt our own scientific or technological progress based on the fact that we don't know everything about what will happen when we do something, rather we should have protocals in place to adapt based upon the results of our actions.
 

Demeter

Member
The way I see it is this, if the animal can still successfully mature and reproduce then it is a working system as reproduction is basically the goal of all living things. Not saying I agree with "glofish" but if they can still produce healthy offspring naturally then I guess it's alright for the organism. I for one am not particularly impressed with the motivation behind creating such modified animals.

As for the reproducing part, I am partially referring to certain dog breeds which often need human help breeding and almost always need a c-section to result in live pups. If a certain breed needs that much help making babies then I think something is off with the system. So if these glo danio/tetra/shark/barb/bettas were needing help to reproduce then they probably shouldn't be in the aquarium trade.
 

MaximumRide14

Member
Ebreus said:
Yes, that is a concern. Though it isn't a concern unique to genetic modification. Common Plecos or Water Lettuce into the river near were I live could be an ecological disaster and yet I could own both if I wanted to and there'd be little but my own knowing better keeping but from doing so.
That's fair, although some states have already implemented laws to reduce the spread of invasive species. For example, water hyacinth, water lettuce, and duckweed are illegal in Texas. I think that because genetic modification is relatively new, in addition to its controversial ethical concerns, there's more freedom to its experimentation. So far, I haven't seen any immediate setbacks on the fish themselves, as the insertion of the gene only typically causes the production of the protein that causes the glow, but I think more studies need to be done to completely understand it. On their website, it says that glo fish "were originally bred to help detect any environmental pollutants" I wonder how this is possible through gene transformation?
 
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Ebreus

Member
Sunflower said:
I honestly just don’t understand the visual appeal. The tanks that come with glofish are inhospitable for the most part and definitely do not replicate any sort of natural body of water. It’s all glowing under black light for goodness sake.

Then again I’m the type of person to feel as if we are responsible to let our pets live the most natural and happy lives possible.
I think I get the appeal but I'm more interested in planted tanks.
I think we all want our aquatic animals to live long and healthy lives. I'm betting my tank isn't a mimic of any naturally occurring environment though. I'm pretty sure my plants are a collection from all across the world within the regens that get hot enough they live comfortably at the same temperature as guppies.
 

Dewclaw83

Member
Considering I want my senior to involve modifying fish genes in some way shape or form (haven’t decided yet) - I’m fine with genetic modification lol
As long as it’s humane, I don’t see an issue
 
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Ebreus

Member
At the risk of causing the thread to derail:
Am I the only one who considered the possibility of fish designed from the ground up for ornamental purposes? If I am not mistaken we've already designed a bacterial genome from the ground up so I don't see why this couldn't happen with fish given enough time and practice.
 

Dewclaw83

Member
Ebreus said:
At the risk of causing the thread to derail:
Am I the only one who considered the possibility of fish designed from the ground up for ornamental purposes? If I am not mistaken we've already designed a bacterial genome from the ground up so I don't see why this couldn't happen with fish given enough time and practice.
I mean, I can see that happening with any animal. However, aren't the majority of fish already "designed" for ornamental purposes? Just not from the ground up. Like compare domestic bettas to wild ones
 
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Ebreus

Member
Dewclaw83 said:
I mean, I can see that happening with any animal. However, aren't the majority of fish already "designed" for ornamental purposes? Just not from the ground up. Like compare domestic bettas to wild ones
... I actually hadn't considered that and you make a very good point.
 

Yyot

Member
We’ve been messing with genes in plants through selective breeding since humans were alive (arguably). Look at the history of rice or corn! We just found a way to do it directly with injecting genes rather than waiting a long time and selecting genes. Nobody knows the long term effects but only time will tell. We can hope there is none and maybe we can finally cure blindness, Alzheimer’s, and things of the sort.
 
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Ebreus

Member
Yyot said:
We’ve been messing with genes in plants through selective breeding since humans were alive (arguably). Look at the history of rice or corn! We just found a way to do it directly with injecting genes rather than waiting a long time and selecting genes. Nobody knows the long term effects but only time will tell. We can hope there is none and maybe we can finally cure blindness, Alzheimer’s, and things of the sort.
I agree. We've been screwing with the genome of everything we interact with for just about as long as we've been interacting with them. We should be watchful for drawbacks to our changes but I don't think potential drawbacks are something we should cease trying altogether over.
 

aussieJJDude

Member
pagoda said:
...lifespan and general health could potentially be affected, look at Betta fish that started out plain red or blue and have expanded into a rainbow's worth of different colourways but at the cost of their health and lifespan....
One thing that its worth to keep in mind, bettas started out as wild fish. But as selective breeding arose, originally for fighting genes were selected for the best fighters. Over time, it was likely that people started inbreeding fish.


Nowdays its colour and finnage. And this is where inbreeding plays a heavy role into stabilising a colour variant. Many bettas can be purchased as a sibling pair, where you breed the siblings and then outcross to another betta and continue to line. Bettas aren't affected by the colour, but more the process used to obtain the colour. Inbreeding.
 
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Ebreus

Member
aussieJJDude said:
One thing that its worth to keep in mind, bettas started out as wild fish. But as selective breeding arose, originally for fighting genes were selected for the best fighters. Over time, it was likely that people started inbreeding fish.


Nowdays its colour and finnage. And this is where inbreeding plays a heavy role into stabilising a colour variant. Many bettas can be purchased as a sibling pair, where you breed the siblings and then outcross to another betta and continue to line. Bettas aren't affected by the colour, but more the process used to obtain the colour. Inbreeding.
Betta forms is one area where the new tool of gene editing stands a reasonable chance of being better for the animals than the current tool, selective breeding.
We're already making them glow with a simple and well known edit so would I don't see how it'd be that difficult to sequence the genome of a few well known and popular forms and see what happens with different combinations of genes for known forms, or possibly intentionally mix in genes from wild Bettas to try to fix inbreeding damage without sacrificing form.

I'd love to see a Betta form with the tolerance of tank mates that guppies have.
 

aquafrogg

Member
Ebreus said:
I think I get the appeal but I'm more interested in planted tanks.
I think we all want our aquatic animals to live long and healthy lives. I'm betting my tank isn't a mimic of any naturally occurring environment though. I'm pretty sure my plants are a collection from all across the world within the regens that get hot enough they live comfortably at the same temperature as guppies.
Lol I think you misinterpreted. What I meant by “natural body of water” was, what natural body of freshwater is filled with glowing plastic pieces and under constant black light? Not the specific types of plants or anything. The whole “glofish aesthetic” just seems... odd to me. It’s not a natural way of living for the fish. But then again the fish themselves are not natural.

And yes I know everyone wants the best for their fish. I meant that as a joke.
 
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Ebreus

Member
Sunflower said:
Lol I think you misinterpreted. What I meant by “natural body of water” was, what natural body of freshwater is filled with glowing plastic pieces and under constant black light? Not the specific types of plants or anything. The whole “glofish aesthetic” just seems... odd to me. It’s not a natural way of living for the fish. But then again the fish themselves are not natural.

And yes I know everyone wants the best for their fish. I meant that as a joke.
True. Plastic decor and blacklight is a good deal further removed from natural than having fish, inverts, and plants from all across the tropical/subtropical regions of the world.
I think the unnatural environment paired with unnatural fish thing is both odd and fitting... as odd as that sounds xD.
To me it seems like glowing is just the simplest gene edit that can be done for a hugely obvious effect. I think as the technology evolves we'll see modifications that aren't as... odd to us.

Bettas with the temperament of guppies, I think, would be an impressive/interesting mod to people already in the hobby but I don't think it'd be as apparent as glowing to newcomers.
Live plants that flower underwater would also be a nice mod but that one I can see being rather difficult to make work.

I wonder if it'd be possible for any plants to live under a blacklight... if so gloplants to go with the glofish would make the whole glo idea a bit more appealing. Still probably would keep to having higher ambient light though.
 

Dewclaw83

Member
Ebreus said:
True. Plastic decor and blacklight is a good deal further removed from natural than having fish, inverts, and plants from all across the tropical/subtropical regions of the world.
I think the unnatural environment paired with unnatural fish thing is both odd and fitting... as odd as that sounds xD.
To me it seems like glowing is just the simplest gene edit that can be done for a hugely obvious effect. I think as the technology evolves we'll see modifications that aren't as... odd to us.

Bettas with the temperament of guppies, I think, would be an impressive/interesting mod to people already in the hobby but I don't think it'd be as apparent as glowing to newcomers.
Live plants that flower underwater would also be a nice mod but that one I can see being rather difficult to make work.

I wonder if it'd be possible for any plants to live under a blacklight... if so gloplants to go with the glofish would make the whole glo idea a bit more appealing. Still probably would keep to having higher ambient light though.
There are plants that flower underwater! It's just not as noticeable as land flowering plants. Just like how whales re-evolved to live in water, these plants did as well. They were once land plants, which have moved back to an aquatic environment
 
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Ebreus

Member
Dewclaw83 said:
There are plants that flower underwater! It's just not as noticeable as land flowering plants. Just like how whales re-evolved to live in water, these plants did as well. They were once land plants, which have moved back to an aquatic environment
Oh cool! I'll have to keep that in mind if I find my tank has an open spot somewhere. Right now all the bear spots are earmarked for a plant already.
 

Dewclaw83

Member
Ebreus said:
Oh cool! I'll have to keep that in mind if I find my tank has an open spot somewhere. Right now all the bear spots are earmarked for a plant already.
Here’s a little info on a species that flowers - I recently picked up one of the plants from this genus : Buce Info

Nature already makes plenty of fun weird things without our interference
 

aussieJJDude

Member
Anubias can regularly flower, and while techincally not underwater, lilies/lotus are two more great examples.


My jungle val in my pond also flower, but their flowers are so tiny they barely noticeable.


For me, I would prefer if they genetically modified fish to be smaller than what they are. Nano tanks are a massive rage these days, and many newcomers coming into the hobby start out with smaller tanks. A dwarf angelfish for example would work well in a smaller tank, as well as the influx of large fish like aros, plecos and catfish that simply outgrow anything but a large pond. Imagine having a dwarf redtail catfish the size of an average size pleco? A lot easier to home this fish then the true 4ft monster!
 

pagoda

Member
There is one thing that has always raised an eyebrow with me in the genetics & breeding of fish causing health issues - are aquarium fish being weakened by genetic manipulation and breeding?

Years ago when I first started keeping fish...and I mean 30+ years ago....you could buy your aquarium and all the equipment and buy your fish at the same time and everything would be fine....happy healthy fish right from day one. The fish might not have been so colourful back then and choices of species was possibly less than now but the fish were seriously hardy and tough.

Nowadays it seems that although the species and colour choices have increased dramatically, the fish themselves just do not seem to manage so well. You have to cycle aquariums, add goodness knows what chemical to get them to survive and then you get the health issues due to too much breeding or cross breeding hybrids to get that perfect colouring or form.

Take the humble Neon Tetra......bred to within an inch of its life...30 odd years ago they were as tough as old boots, nothing killed them, no matter how many mistakes you made.....but now they come with inbred disease traits, they are so fragile that they have almost lost their lifespan.

I love having fish, they are awesome creatures to watch and to own them is a priviledge, we are their guardians and they are our responsibility to keep happy and healthy

But where do you draw the line tween having that aquarium filled with these joyous creatures and genetically messing with them so much that they lose their ability to be healthy, long lasting fish?

I think it is a very sad state of affairs when someone new gets into the pastime of keeping these beautiful fish but they don't get the same experiences of decades ago when the fish were not genetically enhanced and they find that their fish come with a host of issues and die prematurely as a result.

I guess I am just old fashioned, I love my fish and I am passionate about keeping them safe and well and happy and it irks me no end to see what has been done to them by breeding and genetic mucking about just to get that "perfect" colour or that "perfect" look or size

There should never be such a thing as "perfect" cos trying to make something perfect in one way always costs in other ways........nature provides its own pretty colours, why emulate natures own ability by injecting stuff that doesn't belong in a fish, that is not a natural part of a fish just to get dayglo colours that no fish in the wild would ever have?

I simply do not "get" the need to change something for the sake of changing it...especially if that change becomes detrimental to the health and happiness of the individual, shortens its life or causes it to be more prone to illness or disease....why screw with nature that way?
 

DoubleDutch

Member
As said earlier : I completely don't understand the need to change anything made by Mother Nature.

When one only watches the documentaries of the BBC one's mouth constantly falls open how beautiful, awesome, incredible, adapted, evoluted, etc etc.... nature is.

We simply don't have the slightest right to interfere in my opinion. Let's put it differently : Every interference so far ended up in disaster.

In our hobby : The colors, shapes and behaviour of fish are imaginable and incredible. So simple question : Why ??? There is not ANY need to.
 

Dewclaw83

Member
Why not though? Not every change is detrimental.

Mucking around with genes can/has led to some seriously important discoveries that help advance our medical knowledge (whether for fish or humans or anything else). Even the most frivolous seeming research and experiments - like glofish - are still research and experiments that are being done - for example, Glofish were originally created as a part of a larger experiment looking at skeletal muscles. Would it not be better to practice messing with that stuff on a more superficial level - such as changing colors, where it’s much less likely to be detrimental to the organisms? Rather than trying to jump straight into more important thing and risking serious health effects?
 
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Ebreus

Member
pagoda said:
There is one thing that has always raised an eyebrow with me in the genetics & breeding of fish causing health issues - are aquarium fish being weakened by genetic manipulation and breeding?

Years ago when I first started keeping fish...and I mean 30+ years ago....you could buy your aquarium and all the equipment and buy your fish at the same time and everything would be fine....happy healthy fish right from day one. The fish might not have been so colourful back then and choices of species was possibly less than now but the fish were seriously hardy and tough.

Nowadays it seems that although the species and colour choices have increased dramatically, the fish themselves just do not seem to manage so well. You have to cycle aquariums, add goodness knows what chemical to get them to survive and then you get the health issues due to too much breeding or cross breeding hybrids to get that perfect colouring or form.

Take the humble Neon Tetra......bred to within an inch of its life...30 odd years ago they were as tough as old boots, nothing killed them, no matter how many mistakes you made.....but now they come with inbred disease traits, they are so fragile that they have almost lost their lifespan.

I love having fish, they are awesome creatures to watch and to own them is a priviledge, we are their guardians and they are our responsibility to keep happy and healthy

But where do you draw the line tween having that aquarium filled with these joyous creatures and genetically messing with them so much that they lose their ability to be healthy, long lasting fish?

I think it is a very sad state of affairs when someone new gets into the pastime of keeping these beautiful fish but they don't get the same experiences of decades ago when the fish were not genetically enhanced and they find that their fish come with a host of issues and die prematurely as a result.

I guess I am just old fashioned, I love my fish and I am passionate about keeping them safe and well and happy and it irks me no end to see what has been done to them by breeding and genetic mucking about just to get that "perfect" colour or that "perfect" look or size

There should never be such a thing as "perfect" cos trying to make something perfect in one way always costs in other ways........nature provides its own pretty colours, why emulate natures own ability by injecting stuff that doesn't belong in a fish, that is not a natural part of a fish just to get dayglo colours that no fish in the wild would ever have?

I simply do not "get" the need to change something for the sake of changing it...especially if that change becomes detrimental to the health and happiness of the individual, shortens its life or causes it to be more prone to illness or disease....why screw with nature that way?
Thank you for putting in the time and thought for a well worded and thought out response.
I agree that it is tragedy how much the heartiness of common fish has declined. I remember when I first started out, it couldn't have been any earlier than the mid 2000s, I had Guppies and Tetras and nothing could kill them. Now I have guppies again and I must've made ten posts in the disease section in under five weeks of having them trying to stabilize their situation and not loose any more.

Unfortunately the profit motive appears to be in the aestetics of the fish rather than its heartiness or longevity. This is quite sad but little we could do about that short of petitioning our governments to regulate breeding or managing to educate the general population as to why more muted colors and natural body shapes are better for their ability to enjoy the fish and the fishs own life... either of which would be an impressive task.

I'm hoping for gene editing techniques will help us with the fragility of our fish. Right now it's simple and obvious mods that are done to fish but once the simple novelty wears off I'd love to see more... practical modifications. We got brilliant colors and flamboyant finage through inbreeding which comes with the problems we've all been dealing with but gene insertion techniques can let us cheat a little. I'm hoping someone tries getting a wild or not heavily inbred strain that's still hearty and add the genes for color and finage without the fragility that came with inbreeding.

It would be nice if people en mass just would chose forms/strains of fish for being good representatives of their species and being fit to live long, healthy, lives in an aquarium but in general groups of humans seem to tend toward selfishness, ignorance, and laziness so divorcing inbreeding and the flamboyant forms seems to be the best option for reducing the suffering.

I believe part of the driving force of changing things for the sake of changing things is economic which I think gets a little too close to politics for this forum but there are some people who genuinely want to explore the limits of what can be done or make what they perceive to be improvements. I'll admit I am a transhumanist myself.
 
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Ebreus

Member
DoubleDutch said:
As said earlier : I completely don't understand the need to change anything made by Mother Nature.

When one only watches the documentaries of the BBC one's mouth constantly falls open how beautiful, awesome, incredible, adapted, evoluted, etc etc.... nature is.

We simply don't have the slightest right to interfere in my opinion. Let's put it differently : Every interference so far ended up in disaster.

In our hobby : The colors, shapes and behaviour of fish are imaginable and incredible. So simple question : Why ??? There is not ANY need to.
There's no need to but just working based off of necessity isn't really human nature. It seems all throughout history we've strived to go as far as possible beyond necessity. There was never at any point a need for anyone to go to the moon and yet we've sent people there... going absurdly beyond our needs is kind of the unique thing humans do.
Every change we make hasn't ended in disaster. I think one of the best examples of a change, in genetics, we've made that was/is the opposite of a disaster is golden rice. It's rice that's been genetically modified to supplement rice heavy diets with Vitamin A, a vitamin that tends to be sorely lacking in diets that rely on rice.
 

jake37

Member
Sounds dangerous to myself. What if someone releases the killer guppy back into the wild and it eats all the other guppies? Then we would be without guppies
 
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Ebreus

Member
jake37 said:
Sounds dangerous to myself. What if someone releases the killer guppy back into the wild and it eats all the other guppies? Then we would be without guppies
That would be horrible. I am by no means trying to say there's nothing to be worried about with genetic manipulation. There's always the chance that someone will maliciously or just incompetently modify an organism and cause problems but that is true of almost all tools we've ever made.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
Ebreus said:
There's no need to but just working based off of necessity isn't really human nature. It seems all throughout history we've strived to go as far as possible beyond necessity. There was never at any point a need for anyone to go to the moon and yet we've sent people there... going absurdly beyond our needs is kind of the unique thing humans do.
Every change we make hasn't ended in disaster. I think one of the best examples of a change, in genetics, we've made that was/is the opposite of a disaster is golden rice. It's rice that's been genetically modified to supplement rice heavy diets with Vitamin A, a vitamin that tends to be sorely lacking in diets that rely on rice.
Changing genetics of living things and going to the moon is something quite different to me.

Also the need for a Vitamin-gen and less variation in food (causing this) has more to do with overcrowding / overpopulation to me and the need to feed everyone.
Again a human factor.

First signs of disaster by genetically making corn roundup-ready (making it not to die by that herbicide itself) are already seen in cattle fed corn. Not directly but by the massive amount of herbicides used and gotten into the plant. So it often isn't the genetic changing itself, but the "human" chain behind it.

But certainly changing colors or shapes of fish I really think are unneeded (that also counts for hybridizing, selective breeding, etc....).

We humans even are able to make the "blessing" of antibiotics to end up in a disaster by over- and misuse. But also that is a different thing of course.

It isn't that strange to me that all global diseases like SARS, Ebola and now Corona appear to come from (wild) animals and spread by the way we treat / use those.

But maybe it is cause I am European I am sceptical about this and also it is my own opinion. I seriously think / am afraid humanity is destroying itself this way.
In changing genetics there isn't a way back. That maybe is the most worrying thing to me.

Hoping I am wrong.

Or did I get you wrong you asked for opinions and thoughts?
 

aussieJJDude

Member
Its quite easy to reverse genetic manipulation. Gene banks are a thing, and one could edit a zygote so it matches a genetic sequence in a gene bank.
 

pagoda

Member
Another point here too I personally feel that its a generational thing too.....those of us who have been around longer and who experienced nature as intended to be can sometimes shy away from or feel cautious about embracing any form of genetic enhancement

Younger generations appear to react differently to the potentials of making that "perfection" a reality

I think part of the issue here is that younger people see genetic manipulation as being normal and to be expected and they don't always see - or don't want to see - the dark side of the genetic manipulation

Nature has its own way of dealing with crisis and disease....by changing the genetics of a plant or animal you effectively switch off that natural defense system and the result is the "perfect" animal or plant but with the dark side of not knowing what the full detrimental effects are....not just in the here and now but in years and generations to come

Its the old saying.....if it ain't broke, don't fix it

Plants and animals have lived on this planet far longer than humans have, they have survived fire, plague, flood, hurricane, disease thanks to their own defense systems provided by nature

There will always be the danger that by messing with the genetics of any living thing you will unleash devastating side effects that cannot be handled by natures own defense system cos a human has decided to change the DNA for purely cosmetic reasons....as in the case of Glofish and Betta's

Who are we to take something so naturally beautiful and make it "designer" just cos we want to?

Just cos we CAN alter the DNA does not mean we have the RIGHT to do so
 

chromedome52

Member
Many of these modifications are done as art; not for the benefit of the animal, but for the aesthetics of its appearance. Even the grossly twisted fish like Bloody Parrots and Balloon Mollies are done to produce an effect that is artistic in its nature. After all, compare these to the Goldfish lines that have been around for centuries. And how many of us actually try to make a habitat for our fish? Most decorate the aquarium to suit their own aesthetics. For many, the fish are just another element of this "decoration". "Centerpiece fish", anyone?

When one only thinks of a fish as an artistic effect, it is easy to ignore the life of that fish. Very common in Chinese culture. Used to be fairly common in American culture, too, as farmers can't afford to get attached to animals. But as we've gotten less rural we've actually become more obsessed with our animals, even to the extent of calling them "babies" rather than "pets". A trend that I personally do not adhere to, but to each his own.

Mankind has been altering animals for their use for millennia. Animals are not people, they do not have any say in what happens to them. The day one of my fish sticks his head out of the water and tells me that he isn't happy, I will charter a flight to return him to his native habitat.

Where he will almost certainly be promptly eaten by a bigger fish.
 

CHJ

Member
pagoda said:
Years ago when I first started keeping fish...and I mean 30+ years ago....you could buy your aquarium and all the equipment and buy your fish at the same time and everything would be fine....happy healthy fish right from day one. The fish might not have been so colourful back then and choices of species was possibly less than now but the fish were seriously hardy and tough.
I'm wondering how much of this is perception? Fish that have been extensively bred in captivity for appearance like bettas and guppies may be more fragile than 30 years ago but what percentage of fish are bred in captivity vs wild caught are at the LFS? Lots of popular fish that do not breed in captivity or are hard to breed, there are others which breed but are still more profitable to catch wild.
If the wild caught fish are also more death prone then breeding is not the only problem in play. Pollution of natural wetlands may be weakening wild fish.
I also suspect your genetic stability will vary fish to fish. Some fish have very tight genetic lines just due to nature, desert pupfish come to mind as some of the most inbred.

DoubleDutch said:
First signs of disaster by genetically making corn roundup-ready (making it not to die by that herbicide itself) are already seen in cattle fed corn. Not directly but by the massive amount of herbicides used and gotten into the plant. So it often isn't the genetic changing itself, but the "human" chain behind it.
The problem with feeding cows corn is not that it is Roundup ready it is that cows are not meant to eat corn. As they are eating something their body is not good at processing you have to pump them full of antibiotics to keep them from dying.
You could probably keep me alive feeding me old wool sweaters after you break down the wool but I will not be healthy on that diet. I was never meant to eat sweaters.
As for "massive amount of herbicides" that is not happening on a per plant basis, you only get to massive by having a massive amount of plants. Massive amount of herbicides cost massive amount of money, in a for profit world people want to use as little as possible. The great thing about Roundup is that it is incredibly effective, as in "even if you rinse your sprayer out you only use it for Roundup so as to not kill your valuable plants", So a tiny bit of roundup goes a long way which is why the ag industry loves it. Deactivating on contact with soil is also a perk (Though that depends on not using insane quantities).
 

DoubleDutch

Member
CHJ said:
I'm wondering how much of this is perception? Fish that have been extensively bred in captivity for appearance like bettas and guppies may be more fragile than 30 years ago but what percentage of fish are bred in captivity vs wild caught are at the LFS? Lots of popular fish that do not breed in captivity or are hard to breed, there are others which breed but are still more profitable to catch wild.
If the wild caught fish are also more death prone then breeding is not the only problem in play. Pollution of natural wetlands may be weakening wild fish.
I also suspect your genetic stability will vary fish to fish. Some fish have very tight genetic lines just due to nature, desert pupfish come to mind as some of the most inbred.


The problem with feeding cows corn is not that it is Roundup ready it is that cows are not meant to eat corn. As they are eating something their body is not good at processing you have to pump them full of antibiotics to keep them from dying.
You could probably keep me alive feeding me old wool sweaters after you break down the wool but I will not be healthy on that diet. I was never meant to eat sweaters.
As for "massive amount of herbicides" that is not happening on a per plant basis, you only get to massive by having a massive amount of plants. Massive amount of herbicides cost massive amount of money, in a for profit world people want to use as little as possible. The great thing about Roundup is that it is incredibly effective, as in "even if you rinse your sprayer out you only use it for Roundup so as to not kill your valuable plants", So a tiny bit of roundup goes a long way which is why the ag industry loves it. Deactivating on contact with soil is also a perk (Though that depends on not using insane quantities).
That isn't the correct cause the issue doesn't appear when they are fed normal corn. A lot of cows are fed corn in the winter without any issue.

But as said the problem isn't the genetically altered corn, but what it is done for (surviving round up) and the levels of poisson in the corn.

But as said : My biggest fear is that its a one way trip to me. There is no way back when / if we notice we did the wrong thing after all. And we humans made several mistakes alike since we're on earth.

I gave my opinion and I'll leave it to that.
 
  • Thread Starter

Ebreus

Member
DoubleDutch said:
Changing genetics of living things and going to the moon is something quite different to me.

Also the need for a Vitamin-gen and less variation in food (causing this) has more to do with overcrowding / overpopulation to me and the need to feed everyone.
Again a human factor.

First signs of disaster by genetically making corn roundup-ready (making it not to die by that herbicide itself) are already seen in cattle fed corn. Not directly but by the massive amount of herbicides used and gotten into the plant. So it often isn't the genetic changing itself, but the "human" chain behind it.

But certainly changing colors or shapes of fish I really think are unneeded (that also counts for hybridizing, selective breeding, etc....).

We humans even are able to make the "blessing" of antibiotics to end up in a disaster by over- and misuse. But also that is a different thing of course.

It isn't that strange to me that all global diseases like SARS, Ebola and now Corona appear to come from (wild) animals and spread by the way we treat / use those.

But maybe it is cause I am European I am sceptical about this and also it is my own opinion. I seriously think / am afraid humanity is destroying itself this way.
In changing genetics there isn't a way back. That maybe is the most worrying thing to me.

Hoping I am wrong.

Or did I get you wrong you asked for opinions and thoughts?
Other than the domains being different, physics for one and biology for the other, I don't see how going to the moon and modifying genes is that different.

Maybe I'm mistaken but I'm under the impression that these vitamin deficiencies go back generations. They might be exacerbated by modern agricultural practices but it seems to me like the diets haven't changed drastically over the last couple centuries, excepting imported foods. Of course that could just be me, being an American, assuming things without sufficient evidence.

Yeah, roundup resistant corn is the counter-example to golden rice. Gene modding is a tool. Using it to make crops more nutritious is great... using it to allow for a more blunt approach to pest control is horrible. Using a hammer when reroofing an old house is ok... using it to crack someone's skull is horrible. This is, like most things, just another tool.

The declining effectiveness of antibiotics is due to the same factor that makes gene modding unlikely to be some apocalypse: Evolution. We killed most of the bacteria that can be killed with antibiotics which has left the bacteria that is resistant without the more easily killed bacteria to compete with. The oldest enemies of multicellular life have responded to our newest trick, so now it's our turn to come up with another new trick.

I believe a large part of the issue with roundup ready corn and antibiotics abuse is the abhorrent treatment of cattle. I hope things are better in Europe but meat farming in the USA is truly horrifying in most cases. Even if one does the ridiculous and ignores ethical concern entirely the way it's done is quite simply a recipe for disaster... I'll stop about farming before I mention politics.

If I am not mistaken zoonosis events have been the origin of most plagues throughout human history. Killing the host is not useful to most parasites, microbial or otherwise, (at least not human parasites) but rather a byproduct of the way they go about infecting being momentously detrimental to the host while it isn't as bad for their usual host organism. IIRC the 1916 Spanish Flu outbreak was a zoonosis of an avian flu... Spanish Flu infected a third of the world population and killed more than the world war it coincided with. Getting our worst plagues from the animals around us, to me at least, appears to be entirely natural.

As an American I think doom by nuclear war is more likely than bad gene editing killing us all. As aussieJJDude pointed out though we do have gene banks and are keeping record of pretty much all genes we can. Even if there's no sample of any tissue with a gene it turns out we need but erroniously destroyed we have computer models of, I believe, the majority of all genes we've cataloged and could re-create it from scratch.

I think you've got the right idea from what I asked. I find the best discussions happen when you get two or more people who don't all agree on something and can talk about it like adults. This is already one of the best discussions I've had on the topic
 
  • Thread Starter

Ebreus

Member
pagoda said:
Another point here too I personally feel that its a generational thing too.....those of us who have been around longer and who experienced nature as intended to be can sometimes shy away from or feel cautious about embracing any form of genetic enhancement

Younger generations appear to react differently to the potentials of making that "perfection" a reality

I think part of the issue here is that younger people see genetic manipulation as being normal and to be expected and they don't always see - or don't want to see - the dark side of the genetic manipulation

Nature has its own way of dealing with crisis and disease....by changing the genetics of a plant or animal you effectively switch off that natural defense system and the result is the "perfect" animal or plant but with the dark side of not knowing what the full detrimental effects are....not just in the here and now but in years and generations to come

Its the old saying.....if it ain't broke, don't fix it

Plants and animals have lived on this planet far longer than humans have, they have survived fire, plague, flood, hurricane, disease thanks to their own defense systems provided by nature

There will always be the danger that by messing with the genetics of any living thing you will unleash devastating side effects that cannot be handled by natures own defense system cos a human has decided to change the DNA for purely cosmetic reasons....as in the case of Glofish and Betta's

Who are we to take something so naturally beautiful and make it "designer" just cos we want to?

Just cos we CAN alter the DNA does not mean we have the RIGHT to do so
I think you're right here, there appears to be a generational trend with this to me as well.
It might just be me but it appears that younger generations are more keen on adopting new technology in general, not just gene editing. I have some inclination of other trends but I'd rather not posit potentially polarizing trends with no hard data.

I think there are some perfection seekers but I wouldn't be surprised if the general sentiment of those in favor of genetic manipulation was more along the lines of 'Why should we accept limitations we can overcome?' In the context of fishkeeping genetic manipulation, so far, has been pretty shallow. I'd love to see edits for heartiness and disease resistance... and thinking about it I'd like to see mods like that for humans too.

I believe the same thing that's kept all lineages of every type of organism alive since they've arisen is the same thing that will keep any genetic engineering mistakes from destroying the world. Survival of the fittest, ie those who are best adapted to their environment. Most of what we do to other organisms weather by breeding or gene editing doesn't make them better at surviving and so without us tipping the odds in their favor I'd bet in favor of the wild variant of pretty much any organism vs the domestic variant.

It is an old saying and in some areas it works but we didn't need to fix carrages to not need horses to draw them or for ships to sail against the winds and waves.... and so on.

I think stopping at 'Who are we?' is plenty enough a question... it's already one of the big ones.
 

CHJ

Member
Ebreus said:
The declining effectiveness of antibiotics is due to the same factor that makes gene modding unlikely to be some apocalypse: Evolution. We killed most of the bacteria that can be killed with antibiotics which has left the bacteria that is resistant without the more easily killed bacteria to compete with. The oldest enemies of multicellular life have responded to our newest trick, so now it's our turn to come up with another new trick.
Antibiotic resistant strains are due to people not completing their antibiotic cycles and exacerbated by doctors oversubscribing antibiotics. At least near me this has changed so you can't even get antibiotics when you need them unless your illness is on a specific checklist (It is sad when your doctor has to make up an illness for you so they can prescribe something to treat your horrible infection).
Soviet prisons are famous for cultivating antibiotic resistant/immune TB due to unpredictable medical supply situations.
Unless that is what you were saying in which case, yeah, you can't just kill the weak ones, you have to kill them all.
 

jake37

Member
Ah the debate; is it better to be free and eaten or captive but safe ?

chromedome52 said:
Where he will almost certainly be promptly eaten by a bigger fish.
 
  • Thread Starter

Ebreus

Member
CHJ said:
Antibiotic resistant strains are due to people not completing their antibiotic cycles and exacerbated by doctors oversubscribing antibiotics. At least near me this has changed so you can't even get antibiotics when you need them unless your illness is on a specific checklist (It is sad when your doctor has to make up an illness for you so they can prescribe something to treat your horrible infection).
Soviet prisons are famous for cultivating antibiotic resistant/immune TB due to unpredictable medical supply situations.
Unless that is what you were saying in which case, yeah, you can't just kill the weak ones, you have to kill them all.
Exactly, you've gotta kill them all. This would have happened eventually but negligence on the parts of both patience and doctors has greatly accelerated the rate at which diseases have developed immunity to our antibiotics.
 

CHJ

Member
Ebreus said:
Exactly, you've gotta kill them all. This would have happened eventually but negligence on the parts of both patience and doctors has greatly accelerated the rate at which diseases have developed immunity to our antibiotics.
And then we look at the hand sanitizer stations that are everywhere.
 
  • Thread Starter

Ebreus

Member
CHJ said:
And then we look at the hand sanitizer stations that are everywhere.
Yeah, abuse of antibiotics. Nothing should be antibiotic unless it's medically necessary so as to prolong the effectiveness of antibiotics and to give us time to develop something new for when it's effectiveness has been reduced to negligible levels.
 

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