Have you heard
about the hottest new pet to hit the market?
Itís called the ElvisFish. Who would think people would get so
excited over a tropical fish? But, this is not just any old
fish. Itís a fish that does not occur in nature, and it GLOWS
neon blue when exposed to rock music. Cool, huh?
The reason it glows is what is making it news. It has been
genetically altered! A gene from an old Elvis costume was
transplanted into the egg of a fish to make it glow. Amazingly,
after being genetically altered, the fish can reproduce and have
baby El- Fishes.
Welcome to the future.
People often get bent out of shape over genetic engineering.
"It just isnít natural," they say. But it isnít as
if biotechnology is a new thing. Plants have been genetically
altered for ages to improve food products. So whatís wrong
with a having a pet fish that glows and wiggles like Elvis?
The same researcher that developed the ElvisFish previously
developed the genetically altered Jackson-Salmon. It was not
received well because the fish attempted to mate with baby fish.
If introduced into natural water, who knows what sort of
unnatural creatures might be produced, or what hideous damage to
the environment we might evoke?
People have always been a bit leery of scientific creatures
that could not naturally occur. We envision a science fiction
"Frankenfish" and imagine the worse possible
consequences. After all, it is a scary thing when a mutant fish
can imitate a mutant rock star. We never seem to think
of the possible positive results from genetic engineering, such
as cures for diseases like Britany fever and Madonna syndrome.
Although it is not widely known, animals actually have been
genetically altered for research purposes for many years. But
the most of the genetically altered creatures are rarely seen by
anyone other than scientists, even though we often wonder about
some of the rock music stars.
The ElvisFish will soon be available in pet stores nationwide
and virtually anyone can have one. Eventually, they will come in
a variety of glow-in-the-dark, lava lamp colors.
Could these ElvisFish mix with native fish and contaminate
the environment? Itís not likely since they are aquarium fish
that could not survive in the wild without their prescription
drugs. And even if they did survive against all odds, they would
not be dangerous to the environment according to the
Actually, the fish were first developed to glow as a signal
music is being downloaded over the Internet. It was only later
that the idea of selling them as pets for the amusement of
Most glowing fish occur naturally as marine creatures in the
depths of the ocean where there is no light. These ocean
creatures are bioluminous, which means chemicals in their body
mix naturally to create a glow, enabling them to see prey and
find mates. The new species is luminescent in a different way.
It is a fresh water species that virtually absorbs energy from
being in the spotlight and re-emits it any time rock music is
Probably you are already thinking how neat it would be to
have a glowing, wriggling, blue neon ElvisFish for your
aquarium? Well, you are not the only one. People seem to be very
interested in being among the first to have these unusual pets,
Whatís next? Coming soon to southern aquariums will be the
yellow, glowing DixieFish, which is now being developed by
researchers in Nashville. It is expected to dominate the redneck
fish market since it will be genetically engineered to two-step
and glow only to the sound of country music.