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First transgenic pet, ‘GloFish’, sold to US public

9 January 2004   |   News story
The first transgenic animal, and genetically engineered pet, has been sold to the US public over this holiday period. 'GloFish' is a transgenic zebrafish that fluoresces red under ultraviolet light. Sales of the fish have been brisk, however concerns have been raised as GloFish appears to have fallen outside the jurisdiction of any of the US regulatory bodies. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, and the Fish and Wildlife Service have all been approached and refused to consider the regulatory impact of Glofish. As it not for human consumption or used in medicines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also stated that they would not regulate it. This ‘loophole’ worries environmentalists concerned about accidental release of the fish. Others believe further research and thought is needed on this issue before there is a rush of similar products on the market and regulation is impossible. As a result, a lawsuit against the government is being prepared, led by the Center for Food Safety, an interest group that advocates for standards in food safety. Independent experts have indicated that they believe there is no greater environmental danger posed by GloFish than by non-transgenic zebrafish. However, Singapore, Japan, and the state of California have all banned the sale of GloFish.

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