'Fluorescent fish' give the green light to GM pets

Controversy over genetically modified fish

source: Robin McKie Observer June 15 2003 p2

enetically modified fish that glow with different colours are to be sold in the US, a move that has led to controversy. Night Pearl fish were created at National Taiwan University, by a researcher, Professor H.J. Tsai, who was seeking to create fish with easily visible organs for studying. He used jellyfish genes to produce glowing zebra fish . His research attracted the interest of fish produce firm, Taikong Corporation, which offered help with research funding. The resulting fish have been offered for sale in Taiwan, and are also to be sold in the US. They come in green or red. A glowing dragon fish is the next project for the Taiwanese research team.

Critics fear that natural populations of fish could be polluted by these genetically modified fish, although Professor Tsai argues that over 90% of the zebra fish have been sterlized. they are still concerned about the risks from the remaining fish.

Another research area which has aroused controversy is for tropical fish to have genes inserted so they can survive at colder temperatures. This could lead to the new types of fish being released and surviving in British waters, argues Derek Lambert, who edits 'Today's Fishkeeper'.