Genetically modified angel fish- must see! :)

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Orion5

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Hi everyone,

Maybe someone has posted this already, if so my apologies.

A Taiwanese research group succeeded in placing a gene from a species of coral into angel fish giving them the ability to express this interesting color. Aside from the fish themselves, which you may or may not like according to taste, what are your thoughts on genetic engineering of aquarium fish?

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/11/09/2003547259
 

escapay

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I personally would rather just a normal colored one -- they look more natural and they come in various colors to begin with. I do like the pink better than the green colors used on the tetras, barbs, and glofish though.

And then on the the normal part - I personally have not bought or plan on buying genetic engineered fish. I feel that is much safer than dyed fish, so I am happy they are creating a better way to have various colors that certain people would want.
 
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Orion5

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Good point.. However we have all technically bought genetically engineered fish. Any animal bred to enhance certain traits could be considered genetically engineered, no? I.e.. the different colors and patterns of discus are highly unnatural.

I'm playing devil's advocate, of course; but there's still some truth to that. Although in this case they put the genes of a completely different animal into the genetic code of another, which is exceedingly creepy and possibly highly irresponsible...
 

hcroark

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I don't generally have a problem with genetically altered fish. But the pink is freaking me out a bit.... I don't think I like it.
 

matsungit

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Genetic manipulation only serves the scientific advancement (or sometimes amusement) of humankind. The method is crude compared to the natural process of evolution. The animal will most likely have many defects that will lessen its quality of life and shorten its lifespan. Selective breeding is still the best way and has a better chance for long term survival and propagation.
 

JoannaB

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Having five glofish in my tank I must admit I am biased in favor of genetically engineered fish. The aesthetics of them almost glowing with a blue light is really cool I think - kids love it, my husband who is not a fish person loves it (he can't understand why I won't get only glofish).

I find it soothing to watch the fish in the almost dark tank with the blue light, and it is interesting to watch their behavior which is very different from their daytime behavior. The non-altered fish I almost cannot see when the main light is out in the evening so I cannot watch them then. Also I really like the fact that my danios are such a colorful bunch, it seems to suit their active nature - even though it is not natural.

I also like being able to differentiate the fish individually (we have one of each color) whereas while my six year old says that he can differentiate the two regular danios from eachother I have trouble with that, and thus could not tell you which of those two is more dominant for example, whereas with the glofish I know that the yellow one is most dominant and the red one is the least dominant of the school.

My understanding is that glofish life expectancy and health is comparable to regular zebra danios, so if that is the case, personally I prefer the glofish.
 
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Orion5

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I would be interested to know if these angelfish breed, would they pass on the trait to their offspring? Doubtful... but something to think about.

I have a problem with genetic engineering on the level of using DNA from one organism to enhance a totally unrelated organism, like making a better tomato from the genes of a jellyfish, for example. But I'm not a aggressively against it, and sort of find these fish interesting, if scary.
 
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Lucy

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I think the issue I have is that glofish were first genetically engineered to detect pollutants in water.
It seems these are for more for profit.
 

Cichlidnut

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Glofish do breed true. One positive is that there will be less demand to capture fish from the wild.
 

fresh water

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Very cool. I would add one to my tank. I think it would look good with my platinum Angels and the double dark black Angels
 
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Orion5

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I think it would be cool to have a few. Unfortunately $3500 CAD each at the moment.
 

allaboutfish

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I dont like them. I've always like natural better.
 

MotherMajesty:)

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IDK that I like them. They're striking the first time you see them, but... they look like "Barbie" fish.

Aren't real angels attractive enough?
 
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Orion5

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Apparently the blood parrot cichlid was also an unnatural hybrid created in Taiwan in the 80s... so the definition of natural is, well, loosely stated.
 

Cichlidnut

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I love my blood parrots. Super awesome fish ;D
 

matsungit

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The problem is if and when they develop deformity or sickness they will not die immediately. And most of them will eventually. It may take weeks or even months. I'm not wishing to take care of sickly fish or even have to go through the trouble of frequent euthanasia. So it's best that I avoid keeping them in the first place. My co-worker owned a bunch of glofish danios and wanted to give them away when they started having deformities. I accepted but am glad that his wife talked him out of giving them away.

FYI these fish are instrumental in many research including gene therapy and cancer research. A portion of the sales from these fish go to funding various related research.

I'm not totally against people buying or owning these beneficial fish. I just don't want to take care of them since I know they're eventually going to get sick. Unfortunately, a lot of fish sold today also get sick eventually because of massive in-breeding.
 

allaboutfish

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Blood parrots are the exception for me. I dont like all the flourescent fish.
 

JoannaB

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matsungit said:
The problem is if and when they develop deformity or sickness they will not die immediately. And most of them will eventually. It may take weeks or even months. I'm not wishing to take care of sickly fish or even have to go through the trouble of frequent euthanasia. So it's best that I avoid keeping them in the first place. My co-worker owned a bunch of glofish danios and wanted to give them away when they started having deformities. I accepted but am glad that his wife talked him out of giving them away.
Is there any research, not just hear say, substantiating a claim that glofish are more likely to develop deformities than regular zebra danios? I know the company that developped them claims that they have the same life expectancy and same health as regular danio rerio.

Now I know that they have a huge vested interest, and thus I understand that their word is not unbiased.

However, any claim of them having more deformities ought to be substantiated, and evidence of a friend who had them whose fish developped deformities is not conclusive: did this friend also have regular danio rerio which did not develop any health issues? If so, were they treated the same as the glofish, and even if he treated them the same, what is the proof that his regular danio rerio did not just happen to be a really good batch from a better genetic pool, but other regular zebra danios might not have outperformed these glofish, and other glofish might have been as healthy as the healthiest regular danio rerio, right?

Have there been any scientific studies to either corroborate or disprove the company's claim that glofish are as healthy as regular danios?

And regular fish do indeed have lots of inbreeding issues as well as other health issues for many different causes.

I read for example that the curved back symptom that so many danios develop actually is a symptom that can have different causes in different fish - in some fish it is due to genetic issues, in others it is caused by disease, or maybe extreme vitamin deficiency.

So just because two fish die with same symptom does not mean the cause was the same. Just because glofish develop deformities does not mean these health issues are due to genetic manipulation.

When neon tetra die, it is not usually of neon tetra disease though sometimes it is. Similarly some glofish have genetic issues, but what is the percentage of all glofish, and how many die of other causes and it is conveniently blamed on genetics?
 

jetajockey

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My issue with glofish is that yes, they came from a benign origin. The story is that they were to be used to detect pollution in waterways where zebra danios are native. I don't know the veracity of this story, but I do know that it softens the blow of introducing genetically modified fish into the market by making it sound like this is just the benefit of a scientific side effect.

But where did they take it from there? Let's have a look, 1.5 gallon glofish tanks , knowing that zebra danios barely do well in a tank 10x that size. They have a whole shelf display full of items in the big box stores now. It's all about the money and it's a marketing gimmick, it has nothing to do with the welfare of the fish whatsoever.

Another example of this is the glo skirt tetras, and now the glo-barbs. They are pushing this into as many species as they can, to make as much as they can.

The other big issue I have is the copyright on a living animal. They have copyrighted their fish, however that works, so forget breeding them, can we say 'monopoly'?

Those are my ethical issues with this and other GM stuff related to it.

My personal feelings are that it mostly appeals to children and random passerbys when it catches their eye. They bank on novelty, hence the product line, those little kids and random gf/bf who see them and start begging their loved ones are the driving force.

Cichlidnut said:
One positive is that there will be less demand to capture fish from the wild.
Zebra danios aren't pressured in the wild anyway, they breed easily and readily in captivity.

Re: the deformity thing, I'd suspect inbreeding to be the driving force behind deformities and weaknesses, just like is prevalent in other species/strains that start with a relatively small gene pool. So the stock may be weak, but so may any other that has been line bred/selective bred for generations upon generations.

In closing, my personal opinion is that they look tacky, akin to dog costumes and stick figure windshield stickers. But to each his own.
 

Cichlidnut

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I have never experienced an increase in deformities in glofish. Also, Blood Parrots live 10+ years. Don't see how their lives are diminished in any way.

Jeta, I wasn't referring to Zebra Danios.
 
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