10 Animals Science Messed With. From glowing cats to goats that spin spider webs, it seems like genetics are modifying anything and everything. These are real animals and trees you may actually see some of these in stores!
10 Friendly Pig Poo
I bet you didn’t know this little fact about pigs: Pig poo is bad for marine life...okay well what? You see, pig manure is high in a certain form of phosphorus, and farmers often use the manure as fertilizer, but the phosphorus can drain into nearby bodies of water and spawn a certain type of algae that depletes oxygen at a high rate and can wipe out marine life.
So, it’s genetics to the rescue! Scientists got their hand dirty and added E coli bactieria and a touch of mouse DNA to a pig embryo and the results are a pig that has a phosphorus that decreases by almost 70 percent.
Stick around for number 3 to see some seriously crazy genetically altered pigs.
9 Pollution-fighting plants
As we can tell, helping the environment will take more than just cleaning up trash on the side of the road. Pollution literally goes deeper than that, it gets into groundwater and can be harmful to the surrounding wildlife, marine life, and yes, even to you, I mean last I checked, your tap water has to come from somewhere. There is something like 500 thousand polluted and abandoned commercial sites in the United States alone. Well, scientists at Washington University are using some very clever techniques to clean up contamination sites using phytoremediation, a method of cleaning contaminated sites using plants, and now they are using genetically modified plants to step up the speed and efficiency of the process.
The university is using genetically altered or transgenic poplar trees. Poplars produce an enzyme that breaks down pollutants and the transgenic poplars produce the enzyme at a much higher rate. The Trees absorb groundwater pollutants through their roots and then break the pollutants down into harmless byproducts that are then incorporated into the tree or into the oxygen released by the tree. Incredible! If only I could engineer a tree that cleans my room..
8 Venomous cabbage
They have eight legs, two of which are pincers, a tail that loops over their backs with a giant spike on it, and they are creepy as all heck. So you may ask yourself, why would anyone want to alter the genes on one of these less than cute arachnids? Well believe it or not, it isn’t to end up like a super villain in a spiderman comic, but in fact it is to for your food. Yes you heard me right, your food. More specifically, cabbage. Now how the fudge could scorpions help with cabbage? I’ll tell you:
Scorpion poison is extracted and through the power of science the genetic make-up of cabbage seeds is altered to cause the future cabbage to excrete scorpion venom. The secreted venom will work as a sort of pesticide for the cabbage, repelling any bugs, specifically caterpillars, that will try to eat the vegetable. But don’t worry, the cabbage is still completely edible to humans, the poison is far too weak to do any damage.
This product raises a lot of questions, specifically, what will the environmental impact of a plant that excretes scorpion venom be?! The cabbage is still in the testing phases, but we will see!
7 Glow in The Dark Kitties
Scientists have done something really cool here! They inserted a gene into cats that pproduces a fluorescent protein, and this protein is able to make the cats glow in the dark!
Where they got the gene and why they are using it is even cooler! Firstly the protein is naturally occurring in jellyfish, that’s right, you heard me, jellyfish. I thought cats ate fish...now secondly the gene is commonly used to make it easier to monitor the activity of altered genes.
What’s even crazier is why they made cats that glow in the first place, and it wasn’t because it’s cute but actually for aids research. You see the researchers who made these night light cats also inserted a gene that should make them resistant to feline Aids, and as stated before the fluorescent genes make it easier to monitor. Who’da thunk it?
6 Banana Vaccination
Tired of having to get shots to prevent pesky diseases? Well believe it or not scientists have produced bananas, potatoes, lettuce, carrots and tobacco that can produce vaccines. But it appears that bananas are the best food thus far to alter for such a purpose.
Altering the genetic material of a banana allows it to produce a vaccine that would be safe for human consumption. The idea came about because yeast was already being used for vaccine production, so why not try it with something more delectable.
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