Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Begging for Jurassic Park

Whilst listening to NPR today (that's National Public Radio for the Brits among you), I heard of a biotech company that has genetically enhanced zebra fish so they'll glow in the dark. Yes, Americans now need fish that glow in the dark. Pardon me for being the Voice of Skepticism, but what happens when these fish get into the general fish population and start breeding? You know they will; people who get tired of pet fish often flush them down toilets or toss them into lakes or ponds. Do we know what their offspring will be like? What happens if someone eats one? Of course we can't answer any of these questions, yet some company eager to profit from the American passion for useless bullshit is charging ahead nonetheless.

I'm not opposed in theory to messing with genes, particularly if we can head off in fetuses some pretty nasty diseases or deformities. However, I'm troubled at the notion of fiddling with DNA just so we can have more attractive pets. Genetic power is pretty awesome, if you think about it, and such power should not be wielded lightly. The results could be pretty gruesome.

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