These Glow in the Dark fish were genetically modified with plans to reproduce as pets. An aquarium fish — a convict cichlid, also known as the zebra cichlid — that has been transgenically modified to glow in the dark. A whole school of the glow-in-the-dark fish, which were modified using genes from a deep water jellyfish, were presented by Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture at a press conference on Friday in Taipei. Taiwan exports ornamental fish to more than 20 countries worldwide and in the past, scientists there have also bred glowing pigs.
The original zebrafish (Danio rerio) from which the Glow in the Dark fish (GloFish) was developed is a native of rivers in India and Bangladesh. It measures three centimeters long and has gold and dark blue stripes. Over 200 million have been sold in the last 50 years in the United States ornamental fish market. Despite the number of zebrafish sold, they have never established any wild populations in the United States, primarily because they are tropical fish, unable to survive in the temperate North American climate.
Glow In The Dark Fish Development
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 Glow in the Dark fish that could detect pollution by selectively fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins. The development of the constantly fluorescing (Glow in the Dark fish) was the first step in this process. Shortly thereafter, his team developed a line of red fluorescent zebra fish by adding a gene from a sea coral, and yellow fluorescent zebra fish, by adding a variant of the jellyfish gene. Later, a team of researchers at the National University of Taiwan, headed by Professor Huai-Jen Tsai (蔡懷禎), succeeded in creating a medaka (rice fish) with a fluorescent green color, which like the zebrafish is a model organism used in biology. Glow in the Dark Fish or Glofish are sold in various aquarium shops.