10 Mutant and Genetically Modified Organisms

GloFish

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The GloFish is a patented brand of genetically modified (GM) fluorescent zebrafish with bright red, green, and orange fluorescent color. The original zebrafish from which the GloFish was developed measures three centimeters long and has gold and dark blue stripes. In 1999, Dr. Zhiyuan Gong and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore were working with a gene called green fluorescent protein (GFP), originally extracted from a jellyfish, that naturally produced bright green bioluminescence. They inserted the gene into a zebrafish embryo, allowing it to integrate into the zebrafish’s genome, which caused the fish to be brightly fluorescent under both natural white light and ultraviolet light. Their goal was to develop a fish that could detect pollution by selectively fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins. It is the first genetically modified animal to become publicly available as a pet.