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Thread: Glofish

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr stormvisions's Avatar
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    Glofish

    Anybody else disturbed by these? It was bad enough when they were injected or dyed but I worry about this direct DNA manipulation. Not quite the same as hybrids to me - and I am not a big fan of some of those either- but they don't hopscotch the 'normal' breeding process. I am seeing so many varieties of glofish now in tetras, barbs and others - and have seen a few fancy guppies I am suspicious of. The problem is if these glofish aren't sterile they can eventually pollute and even eventually end up in the environment.

    It's only a matter of time before we have Nathan's Hotdog Colored Dachshunds if you ask me.

    I'm not against selective DNA enhancement in some rare cases - to fortify a crop- but the willy-nilly commercialization of this stuff could be the biological equivalent of people commercializing plutonium to make glowing Rubix cubes, and glowing nostril paint "In hundreds of awesome colors!"

    Yeesh. Shiver.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr jayo's Avatar
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    In my view, these are much better than the dyed/injected fish of my childhood. It doesn't seem to affect the health/lifespan of the fish.

    I wouldn't sell them where the fish could survive in the local environment - but our waterways aren't being taken over by regular black skirt tetras or zebrafish, so the glofish should be no different.

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    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Yeah......
    They were originally designed for water treatment purposes. There was an NPR related piece that showcased them. I remember few details. But because of their glowing nature, they made it into the pet hobby industry, and are extremely low risk of they are introduced into our waterways, as they are highly vulnerable to predation due to their fluorescence and water temp requirements.



    I do not care for them, myself, but they brought higher numbers to the aquarium hobby after their introduction, and are very humane in their industry, so it is a win/win overall.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr stormvisions's Avatar
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    I hope you are right. In any complex system the opportunity for unintended consequences goes up with the complexity. Our environments and our DNA are both pretty complex and both are interconnected in ways that makes it likely that at some point errors will occur. I'd feel a lot better if they were sterile.
    Last edited by stormvisions; 06-02-2018 at 11:48 AM.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr kberg2498's Avatar
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    I like them but I would never make a dedicated tank for them. I personally got mine for free due to a consumer survey that was going on at the time. They're pretty rad, I use mine to cycle new tanks as they are easily one of the hardiest fish I own. Like others have said above, they are much better than painted fish. I personally think they're fine and with the higher prices people will not usually get them, or if they do they typically wont have the budget to overstock their glofish kits. My biggest gripe with them is that the LARGEST glofish kit is like a 10gal. They have glo-rainbowsharks. >.>

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    The problem I have with these fish is that they are under Copyright. How do you copyright a living creature? Thats like having a child, putting a copyright on it because you created it, and then saying it can't breed.
    I can understand why people like them though, they are cool and catch the eyes of the kids which helps them gain interest in the hobby overall, which is a good thing. They are a different part of the hobby though, decorative fish for decorative tanks. Most of us that do planted tanks prefer the natural feel in our aquariums and go with regular fish.

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    SCAPE Member 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! swoof's Avatar
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    Most of them aren't really planted tank compatible. If they aren't plant eaters they are too flighty for most plant setups.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted Tiny_Fish's Avatar
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    As a scientist, I want to point out a few things - first, fluorescent fish of this type have been kept and used in laboratory settings for much longer than they have been pets, and their biology is very well understood (better-understood than most animals', at any rate). The chances that the fluorescent proteins they carry will have some scary unintended consequences are essentially nil. The same goes for their ability to act as an invasive species - they basically have a neon "eat me" sign built in, and would not last long in the wild. Lastly, I wanted to address the copyright issue - since they do carry an artificial gene that does not exist in the wild, and the gene was inserted in a way that would never happen in nature, the current legal system considers them man-made, the same as a piece of art or software. A scientist had to think through the genetic "plan" of such a fish, use some fairly sophisticated technology to essentially "build" the DNA that would allow it to glow, and then refine the design over several iterations to make sure it worked as desired. Doesn't that sound much more like the creation of a novel or piece of music than a natural process? This is different from copyrighting an unusual creature born without human intervention, like the many captive-bred color morphs out there (copyrighting them would not be legal). Without such copyrights, the economic cost of making a glo-fish or other recombinant animals would simply be too high, and the profits too low, to be worthwhile for any private enterprise.
    Last edited by Tiny_Fish; 11-18-2018 at 05:12 PM.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiny_Fish View Post
    As a scientist, I want to point out a few things - first, fluorescent fish of this type have been kept and used in laboratory settings for mich longer han they have been pets, and their biology is very well understood (better-understood than most animals', at any rate). The cances tjat the fluoresecmt proteins they carry will have some scary unintended consequences are essentially nil. The same goes for their ability to act as an invasive species - they basically have a neon "eat me" sign built in, and would not last long in the wild. Lastly, I wanted to address the copyright issue - since they do carry an artificial gene that does not exist in the wild, and the gene was inserted in a way that would never happen in nature, the current legal system considers them man-made, the same as a piece of arr or software. A scientist had to think through the genetic "plan" of such a fish, use some fairly sophisticated technology to essentially "build" the DNA that would allow it to glow, and then refine the design over several iterations to nale sure it worked as desired. Doesn't that sound much more like the creation of a novel or piece of music than a natural process? This is different from copyrighting an unusual creature born without human intervention, like the many captive-bred color morphs out there (copyrighting them would not be legal). Without such copyrights, the economic cost of making a glo-fish or other recombinant animals would simply be too high, and the profits too low, to be worthwhile for any private enterprise.
    So does that mean that babies born through in-vetro semination can be copyrighted as well? Thats not a child that would have been born in nature, that child is man made.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted Tiny_Fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    So does that mean that babies born through in-vetro semination can be copyrighted as well? Thats not a child that would have been born in nature, that child is man made.

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    No, because no human design or creativity goes into the genetic makeup of that child. The process of in vitro fertilization itself is patented, because effort and development did go into its creation, but the children resulting form IVF are not distinguishable from children concieved in other ways, so they are not patentable. Patented plants and animals are genetically distinct from other similar plants and animals, and this distinction has to be man-made, clear, and unique to the genetic makeup of the patented organism. That isn't limited to genetically modified organisms like GloFish, by the way. Many types of non-GMO plant seeds, for example, are patented.

    PS. I referred, in my previous post, to GloFish being under copyright, not patent, protection, and I was wrong. I just wanted to clarify that. A brief search suggests GloFish and other such organisms are patented, not copyrighted. I am not a lawyer and I'm a bit fuzzy on the distinction and its implications, but basically copyright is for ideas and patenting is for inventions. By that logic I guess GloFish are an invention. Either way, their use and distribution are controlled by the company that created them.
    Last edited by Tiny_Fish; 11-19-2018 at 12:17 AM.

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    InActive SCAPE Member SCAPEr ddinox64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayo View Post
    In my view, these are much better than the dyed/injected fish of my childhood. It doesn't seem to affect the health/lifespan of the fish.

    I wouldn't sell them where the fish could survive in the local environment - but our waterways aren't being taken over by regular black skirt tetras or zebrafish, so the glofish should be no different.
    The problem with our local lakes, streams, ponds and storm drains are people dumping tilapia in them. Florida is a destroyed environment from people dumping fish they can't sell and are over breeding.

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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    Florida has worse problems than fish dumping, but that's a story for another day.

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