Top 5 Bizarre Genetically Modified Organisms
Jun 20th, 2008
Genetic modification of plants and animals has caused a lot of debate in recent years as the technology becomes much more accessible to scientists. Despite the potential dangers of some modifications, science has continued to test and produce some striking new organisms. This is a list of the top 5 most bizarre.
With the growing wealth of China, many rich Chinese women are seeking alternative and exotic pets to show off their money. This has lead to a number of Chinese medical and scientific research companies to compete for this new income source by producing cross breed animals. The most successful (financially) so far has been the Lemur Cat. It is (as the name suggests) a cross between a lemur and a cat. It retains the soft fur of the cat and the coloring, but has the striped tail and yellow eyes commonly found on a lemur. It is more ferocious than the average cat but it is generally no more dangerous than a Chihuahua dog. The scientific name for this new breed is Prolos Fira.
This is probably the most remarkable example of how far science is able to go with modern DNA and cross fertilization techniques; the dolion is a cross between a lion and a dog. In order to produce this incredible rare animal (only 3 dolions exist in laboratories - the photo above is of Rex, the first ever produced), individual strands of DNA from each creature must be combined and re-inserted in to a host egg. This is similar to the liger
(lion/tiger crossbreed) with the exception that the liger is able to be produced without prior manipulation of the DNA of either breed of animal.
The GloFish was the first genetically modified animal to become available as a pet. It is a natural Zebrafish which has had genetic information from bioluminescent jellyfish added to its DNA. It was originally produced to provide a warning system for pollution but with the addition of further colors its viability for the pet market became clear. It was introduced to the US market in December 2003 by Yorktown Technologies of Austin, Texas.
The graisin [giant raisin] is a variety of raisin which has been modified to grow to enormous proportions. The graisin was produced by the National Institute of Genetics
in Japan due to the Japanese love of large fruit and the recent popularity of western foods such as raisins. The texture and taste is identical to that of its genetically normal parent and it is served raw or thinly sliced in a stir fry.
5- Fern Spider
The fern spider is unique on this list as it is the only combined plant and animal. At the time of writing this is the only animal that has successfully been crossed with a plant. The spider is a cross between a common Italian Wolf spider (Lycosa tarantula) and the ponga fern (Cyathea dealbata). The purpose of this bizarre crossbreed was to study the survival rates of spiders with built in camouflage versus those without in a series of studies on Natural Selection at Massey University in New Zealand. The results of the study have not been published yet.
Source: The List Universe