176. Fluorescent Fish

Ever heard of GloFish, which are fascinatingly fluorescent and shine in day as well as night?

GloFish is actually a “G.M. Zebra Fish” (Genetically Modified Zebra Fish). It comes in three vibrant colours namely bright red, green and orange.

Although not developed for the ornamental fish trade, it is the first genetically modified animal to become a popular and affordable pet. The real aim of developing this fish was to detect pollution by fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore extracted the GFP gene from a jelly fish that produced bright green Bio-Luminescence. They inserted the gene into the zebra fish genome, causing the fish to glow brightly, both in natural white light and ultraviolet light.

Shortly thereafter, the team developed a line of red fluorescent zebra fish by adding a gene from a sea coral. The yellowish orange fluorescent zebra fish was developed by adding a variant of the jellyfish gene.

The red fluorescent zebra fish is rightly named as “Star fire Red”. The green fluorescent zebra fish is named in an equally thrilling way as “Electric Green”and the orange fluorescent zebra fish named as “Sunburst Orange”. It has been found GloFish are fertile and can reproduce even in captivity.

As of January 2007, Canada prohibits import or sale of the GloFish, due to a lack of sufficient information with regard to its safety. The import, sale and possession of these Glofish is not permitted within the European Union either.

However GloFish have continued to be successfully marketed throughout the United States since December 2003. After more than six years of availability, there are no reports of any ecological concerns associated with their sale.

Visalakshi Ramani


2 Responses to 176. Fluorescent Fish

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