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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 08:17 GMT
Lawsuit seeks to dim glowing fish
By Maggie Shiels
In California

The genetically modified fish, sold under the trademark name of GloFish
The normally black and silver fish glow red in the dark
The US Government is being sued over the sale of the nation's first genetically modified household pet.

The Florida-grown GloFish is banned in California, but this month went on sale in other parts of the US.

Two public interest groups want the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services to halt sales nationwide.

Their lawsuit asks a federal judge to suspend sales of the GloFish until the government regulates the biotech pet.

Sales soaring

Joseph Mendelson of the Center for Food Safety says not regulating the GloFish sets a dangerous precedent for all future gene-altered animals, whether created for food or fun.

Last month, the FDA said it would not get involved because the fish were not intended for human consumption and there was no evidence of an environmental threat.

A cat
Cats for allergy sufferers could be on the cards
Californian wildlife agencies are expected to re-examine their own ban next month.

The red glimmer of the black and silver GloFish, which some critics call the Frankenfish, comes from a coral gene that was added to the embryo of a normal Zebra fish.

Scientists in Singapore came up with the idea to monitor water quality, trying to get the fish to glow in the presence of toxins.

A Texas company won the right to sell the GloFish in the US, which reached the stores just over a week ago.

They cost five to 10 times more than other ornamental fish, but sales have been soaring.

Although fish may be the first genetically altered creatures to reach the marketplace, it is believed others are set to cause as many ripples.

A New York company is currently trying to use gene-splicing to create a cat that does not inflame allergies.

GM fish glows in the bowl
27 Jun 03  |  Science/Nature

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