Friday, December 14, 2007

Cat news and genetic modifications

Normally, I talk about dogs since those are just the things I see and work with everyday. However, I have a special place in my heart for cats too. If I could have a cat, ie, Hank and Daphne wouldn't decide it was lunch, then I'd probably own one. I've always wanted to literally clicker train a cat from a kitten to adulthood. I think just like other animals, they can do amazing things.

Anyway, recently, cats have been in the news. This just came out about a cloned red fluorescent cat

I have to admit when I first saw this, I was kind of in shock as to why. The Korean researchers say this research will help with diseases in both humans and animals, including rare animals that are on the brink of extinction.

I did a little researching, and it's quite interesting about the spectral array of fluorescent proteins. Apparently, they can quantify many different cellular processes in the body, are nontoxic and very stable. I'm not a biologist, so I do not know enough about all the implications of this type of research. What I do know however, is that in general, the investigation of genes, gene therapy, personalized medicine, etc. are all moving at alarmingly fast rates. It's kind of exciting really to know that there is so much going on in this field of study, but at the same time, it reveals just how much we don't know either. That's when the ethical debate can come out on whether this is the right or wrong thing to do. My feeling is that if these types of studies can help further education, medicine, and treatments, then it can be worth it.

However, I do not think it is necessarily right to genetically alter animals who were meant to have certain characteristics. For example, I read awhile back about the new "exotic" pet being bred which was a hairless guinea pig. Though kind of cute, it just doesn't sit well with me. They were meant to have hair and fur. Okay, that's my spiel on genetic modifications.

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