Glowing “Night Pearl”Fish Now On Sale

The fish caught the eye of Taikong, a worldwide supplier of fish food and equipment. Tsai agreed to share his genetic expertise with Taikong in exchange for research funding. Willis Fang, Taikong’s president, coined the name “Night Pearls” and thought the glowing fish would be a hit among fish enthusiasts. He began plans to market the fish with special black-lit fish tanks, fluorescent food pellets and glowing coral. The fish were available this May in Taipei for about US$17 each.

While the fish have striking colors, reaction from pet dealers has been mixed. “If they can actually do this, it will be the greatest thing since popped corn,” Nevin Bailey, manager at San Diego-based Aquariumfish.net, told The Wall Street Journal this May. The reaction in Europe, where resistance to genetically modified organisms is high, is notably different. “Fish shops in the UK won’t touch them with a barge pole,” the editor of Today’s Fishkeeper, Derek Lambert, told The Observer. “There’s a very strong anti-genetic-engineered-fish feeling in the UK.”

Tsai says that more than 90% of the fish are sterilized, however, and says there should be no concern about the fish polluting natural populations. But marine researchers say there is still a chance that this could happen. Regardless, market reaction to the fish could determine whether they’re just the first of many modified pets. Laboratories around the world have produced partially fluorescent pigs, mice and insects, and scientists are already working on cats that don’t produce allergens.

12 thoughts on “Glowing “Night Pearl”Fish Now On Sale”

  1. From the highlights of one of the photos attached to this story, apparently the fish require some ultraviolet (“black light”) assistance in glowing. This is a far less interesting phenomenon than having the fish glowing under their own power.

  2. why would anyone want to buy one of these?? These fish are an abomination and should be banned from all pet stores. A true aquarium owner would prefer to stay with natural fish not some genetically altered freak of science.

  3. I am somewhat amused by your attitude. Pet breeders of ANY kind – fish, dog, cat, horse, whatever – have spent THOUSANDS of years developing “genetic freaks” that are “pretty”. They did it the old fashioned way – by controlling who got to breed with who. And this is different…how?

  4. I too would love to get some of these for a small fishtank.

    As to the idea that, “A true aquarium owner would prefer to stay with natural fish not some genetically altered freak of science.” If people took that same idea with all pets. There would be no breads of dogs or cats other then wild. Your average Chihuahua would not live long in the wild, they where genetically altered by breading for pets.

  5. A note, most current ‘abnormal’ pets have been cross breeded, as apposed to being ‘altered’.

    The basics are the same, but still require a certain level of natural compatability to begin with.

    While I think the fish are indeed cool, I find the concept a little unsettling. There’s a very fine line between genetic ‘tweaking’ and outright modification.

    Our food, now our pets. I really do not wish to see the day where children can be updated, or anything of the like.

    I simply don’t ourselves to not screw it up.

  6. I am currently an aquatics specialist at the National Institutes of Health working specifically with zebrafish. I am also attending Johns Hopkins science/medical writing masters program. I am doing research for an article concerning the development of genetically altered organisms beyond the medical/research and food industries. I am using these marketable “glowfish” as a springboard and prime example. I would appreciate any insight and additional uses of GM organisms for things other than science and food (i.e., trivial, aesthetic).
    I can be reached at caynazzo@juno.com

  7. you say that “Your average Chihuahua would not live long in the wild, they where genetically altered by breading for pets.” breeding is different then genetically altering. Breeding u take two related organisms (e.g. two dogs) with traits u would like them to pass on to the next generation. With modification u take a genen and put it into an organism. (e.g. fish genes into a strawberry to make it more frost resistant). this is not a natural process. there is nothing natural about breeding a fish and a strawberry in fact thats rather perverted

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