January 4, 2013

Biotechnology As An Accepted Norm?

Guess what? We’ve engineered the first genetically enhanced fish, perfect for our dietary needs. Is this the future of how we treat biotechnology?

I’ve ranted endlessly so far in the past about technological advances with robots and mechanical movement. At this point I find it typical that nobody has thought of advances in technology that extend to the biological realms of science. We’re still restricting the confines of our imagination to science fiction films where robots are still a big thing 500 years from now. Can you blame me?

If you’ve never seen what a biotechnology site looks like, this company will give you an idea. They’re called AquaBounty Technologies, and they refer to themselves as an enforcer in the advancement of aquatic life and seafood. Their tinkering with seafood wasn’t my initial idea of advancement in biological life, but I guess that’s why I’m not one of the guys in a white coat.

AquaBounty has just been recognized by the FDA for their completion of the first genetically engineered salmon that they deem acceptable for releasing into the wild. What sets this salmon apart from other fish is that its growth rate has been accelerated by up to twice the normal speed. Other than the obvious goals of making the fish extremely healthy, what uses do we have for an extremely healthy fish?

This fish is feared by some because of its growth factor, and it’s understandable that any genetic altering might harm any neighboring aquatic life. The use of these fish as edible specimens should be a signaling to the science world that any and all purposes of environmental interaction is safe. I mean come on; they’re engineering these fish for ingestion!!!

There’s got to be some silver lining between eating them and releasing them into the wild.

The harboring of a fish for genetic research seems like a great start for learning the limits and possibilities of genetic altering. However there are conflicts between AquaBounty and the FDA pertaining to the morals of tinkering with the genetic makeup of another species. Owing to those same morals, it’s safe to say that the engineering of other biological species isn’t in the cards in the coming years.

Considering how delicate the strings of life are amongst the population of urban society, I can understand why some people aren’t attracted to the thought of genetic altering. Natural occurrences are often seen as the suitable origins of any life form for the obligatory crowd. On the other hand, I have been interested in science fiction and virtually all forms of that genre for quite some time. Because of that interest, I prefer to think of any advancement made in the science world as a potential step in the evolutionary chain of development.

With that being said, what could be the potential advantages of a genetically altered human? An increased healing factor? An accelerated growth enzyme? The possibilities can go on for days and days.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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