Following up with our discussion of Designer Fish, I came across an article on Practical Fishkeeping showing off fluorescing Cichlids. I know freshwater fish are out of the scope of this website, but seeing as how we just wrote about “designer fish”, I had to bring this story up. I was so surprised to see these glowing abominations actually receiving praise. Apparently, these “miracle fish”, as they are highly regarded in the article, took seven years to create. The Taiwan Council of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Academia Sinica, Tawain’s national research accademy, had successfully bred transgenic Convict cichlids (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) and Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) that fluoresce. To achieve the glowing look, researchers had to inject gene fragments into fish eggs shortly after they were laid.
But the scary part of the article has yet to rear its ugly head. Approaching the bottom of the story, the author reveals that the technology to breed these ransgenic cichlids has been given to private companies for commercial production. Still, the shocking moment has not arisen. Continuing on I read, “approximately one more year of field tests is needed (scheduled for completion at the end of 2011) to ensure that the cichlids would not have adverse effects on the natural environment.” These fish should never be release to the public. They will get into local waterways somehow and they will screw up the local ecosystems somehow.