Looking For A New Pet? GloFish

A certain little fish is making a big splash this holiday season.

It's a designer glow-in-the-dark pet created in a lab, and it's been put on sale just in time for the holiday shopping rush.

Just like any classic novelty toy, the first genetically altered pet has arrived, reports CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan.

"The wholesaler described it as probably the biggest thing to hit the fish industry in 20 years, maybe ever," says Sean Crawford of the Dallas North Aquarium.

Scientists say they first "saw the light" in Singapore.

Combining the genes from a luminescent sea anemone with the genes from a black and white Zebra-Fish produced a fluorescent phenomenon priced at less than $10.

But not everyone wants them.

California has banned all genetically altered animals, and today the man who is proud of his somewhat fishy copyright was in Sacramento to ask the state to reconsider.

"We have been working for over two years with the leading scientific experts who specialize in environmental risk assessment and they have firmly concluded the fish are safe," says Alan Blake of Yorktown Technologies.

Genetically engineered fish are nothing new, but unlike the altered Salmon that's been dubbed the "Franken-fish," GloFish aren't meant to be eaten.

That means neither the FDA, the USDA or the EPA has the will or power to regulate them.

And that has some critics giving the fish less than glowing reviews.

"You name it, the imagination runs wild in this area and there really are no limits right now," says Peter Jenkins, of the Center for Food Safety. "Once they're out there, its very hard to call them back."

The GloFish is the only pet for sale to have its genes altered simply for human amusement. And while few are suggesting that green and red cats are dogs are next — some fear the technology has gone overboard and wonder whether it's moving from science to circus.
  • Lauren Johnston

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter