Genetically Modified Organism

A genetically modified (GM) organism is an organism that has acquired one or more genes by artificial means, rather than by traditional breeding methods. It is also known as a transgenic organism, if the recombinant organism is from another species. There is the universal doubt about if many GM organisms could harm the environment or human health. The GloFish® fluorescent fish pictured here are GM zebrafish which come in various florescent colors, such as purple, orange-yellow, green, blue, and red. They were originally bred to help detect environmental pollutants. Scientists, by adding a natural fluorescent gene, hope to quickly and easily determine when a waterway is contaminated. The first step in producing pollution fighting fish was to create a fish that would be fluorescent all the time. One day, scientists hope to develop a “switch” that will cause always-fluorescent fish to selectively fluoresce in the presence of environmental toxins. A portion of the proceeds from GloFish® fluorescent fish goes directly to the lab where these fish were originally developed for their scientific purpose.


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