10 Animals MODIFIED By SCIENCE
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for we humans to try and invent new things that benefit us; but genetically modifying animals? That’s right, even Mother Nature isn’t safe as we alter everything we can for the “greater good.” For this altered installment, we’re building a zoo of ten unique genetically modified animals. We promise you - number one should be a shocker.
It's not as bad as it initially seems. Genetically modified babies are not really new to the game and it's actually a lot less severe than it sounds. Sadly, because who doesn't want a team of super-babies running around?! The concept of modified babies actually refers to the process of cytoplasmic transfer, which entails injecting cytoplasm for a donor egg into one lacking mitochondria. The egg then goes through a process of fertilization and implanting into the womb, hopefully creating a baby that technically has three parents. Though it sounds like a pretty sound process, the FDA put a ban on the process, citing the embryos as a biological product so that it could do so.
Spider-Goat, Spider-Goat, does whatever a spider-goat does! Okay, so it doesn't quite fit well into the Marvel Comics universe, but the web-spinning goat, or Spider-Goat (trademark of Top10Archive), is the product of incorporating the spider dragline silk gene into goats so that our four-legged friends would produce the silk protein in their milk. So maybe we jumped the gun with Spider-Goat, but this genetically altered goat saves time and energy, as researches won't have to deal with spider farms in order to produce the silk protein, which is used in artificial ligaments and tendons and jaw repair.
Sometimes the reasoning for things can be as simple as: "Because without it, life would be much more terrifying." Enter the featherless chicken, proof that feathers are a good thing. Scientists at the Hebrew University in Rehovot's Agriculture department engineered the naked chickens as a means of creating a low fat poultry that also happens to lower the cost on ventilation systems for farmers. What the featherless chicken really determines is that feathers are actually quite important to birds, protecting them from temperature fluctuations, parasites, sun burn, and mosquitos. Additionally, they look like an extraterrestrial version of the common chicken. Proving once again that Mother Nature's formulas are not without reason.
Sudden Death Mosquitos
Even animal rights activists against genetically modifying Mother Nature may get behind this one. Oxitec, a United Kingdom biotechnology firm, engineered a breed of mosquito that is either sterile or will die before even reaching adulthood. The aim was to cut down on mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever, but there is an expected side effect - the complete eradication of the mosquito population. As with most things in nature, even mosquitos serve a purpose, such as being a meal for a variety of birds and fish. While we may love a land without mosquitos, there could be detrimental effects on the local ecosystem.
If it's not genetically altered monkeys that take the world from us, it will be the modified "Mighty Mice." They're like your average house mice except that they can run up to 3.7 miles or 6 kilometers per hour continuous 6 hours straight. The mouse is capable of eating 60% more than an ordinary mouse but is more likely to remain leaner and more muscular. So, why do we want a breed of super mice? According to the researchers involved, these mice could help pave the way for the development of muscle enhancers to assist with certain conditions. Or, you know, athletes looking for an edge.
Clearly, we've learned nothing from Charleston Heston, else monkeys would probably be the last thing on our list to modify at a genetic level. ANDi, an adorable rhesus monkey, was born in October of 2000 with the sole purpose of creating primate models of common human diseases such as Alzheimer's for research and drug testing - sounds like quite the life. The process to create ANDi started with 224 unfertilized eggs, all injected with a virus carrying the green fluorescent protein gene, an easily monitored gene due to its green glow. Of the 224 eggs, ANDi was the only of three surviving specimen to carry the gene.
It goes great on cereal and pairs perfectly with cookies, but did you know that camel's milk could save your life? That's right! Dubai scientists have been hard at work genetically modifying camels to produce milk rich in pharmaceutical proteins to be later used in the production of insulin and anti-clotting agents. The modification is believed to allow for lower cost of these life saving drugs, and because camels are cheap, disease-resistant, adaptable, and easily maintained, they were the best option for the study. As if you need more reason to love their cute fuzzy faces.
They're slimy and, in their own way, not at all pleasant to look at, but the Mexican salamander may be rising up in the world. The restorative properties of the Mexican salamander has been under the microscope for some time now, with scientists genetically modifying these tiny creatures to get a better understanding of the regenerative growth of a lost limb. Thanks to the modified salamander, scientists have deduced that cellular growth doesn't start at the beginning, but rather at a more mature version of the cell, giving hope that the same process may be possible in human cells. Either that, or this is a cleverly disguised step at creating a real life Innsmouth, Massachusetts.
There's an ongoing war between vegetarians and omnivores over who is right and who is wrong. Thanks to a series of genetically modified porkers, both parties are able to sit down for a meal together and enjoy one another's company. This specific type of pig is created through the introduction of a spinach gene into unfertilized pig eggs, which are then implanted into a surrogate. These pigs are born with no health complications and produce a protein that is normally found in spinach leaves. Of course… the pig still needs to be slaughtered to provide the benefit of this protein; so maybe that Herbivore/Omnivore sit down is still a few years off.
It’s late at night and you can’t seem to find the light switch, but thanks to your feline friend, Mr. Banner, you're able to make it to the bathroom without issue. This scenario, of course, is only plausible thanks to the genetic alteration that turned cats into glow-in-the-dark playthings. Inserting rhesus macaque and jellyfish genes into unfertilized cat eggs produces a fluorescent kitten resistant to feline immunodeficiency virus. More than just a convenient nightlight, the Mayo Clinic scientists responsible for this line hopes to use it to fight the human strain of AIDS. Along with cats, scientists have created glow-in-the-dark pigs, mice, dogs, and fish.