Are GloFish Ethical? (Explained)

GloFish being genetically modified has raised many ethical questions. There were times when the states were about to ban the production and selling of the GloFish. But are GloFish not safe for the environment? 

Are GloFish Ethical? Many people questioned GloFish for being unethical, and many controversies have tried to hold them back. Being diverted from the original goal also made them unethical, but as glofish didn’t raise any safety issues or threats on the nature, many bioethicists and researchers believe that glofish are ethical.

In this article, I will be sharing enlightening information on GloFish. Moreover, I will be sharing various information on how the regular environmental cycle is being affected by the rise of GloFish. Lastly, I will be sharing the disadvantages of GloFish. 

Happy Reading!

GloFish And Its History

GloFish are genetically modified fluorescent fish that have luminescent color and the ability to glow in the dark. It was back in 1999 when Dr. Zhiyuan Gong, along with others working at the National University of Singapore, first developed GloFish. 

Then on 2003 January 5, GloFish were publicly available for the general public to buy. Zebra Danio was the first one to arrive, and various other species have emerged since then. 

You can purchase these GloFish from any authorized seller. However, you need to keep in mind GloFish is restricted in Canada, Europe, and Australia. You will only find them in the United States. 

However, there was a time when people doubted the ethical presence of GloFish. Experts claimed that if the GloFish were released in the environment, many fish would not have lived in such peace. They claimed GloFish could have harmed the environment. 

To be honest, such vague statements were proven wrong when the Chief Executive of Yorktown, Alan Blake, tasted the fish with the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife service. All of them found the GloFish to be safe. [Source]

Then again, GloFish were not used for food purposes rather for beautification, so there is no rule violation here. Such a mysterious product of biotechnology posed no threat to nature. 

Why Are GloFish Controversial?

The main reason behind the introduction of fluorescent fish, GloFish, was to specify if the water was contaminated or not. 

When the water was polluted with numerous pollutants, the fish glowed. However, Yorktown Technologies decided to produce and publicly sell GloFish to the general people, escaping the origin reason. 

It was the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They denied the permission of genetically developed animals that are used as human food, including GloFish as an addition. 

Nonetheless, as the consent from the International Center for Technology Assessment and the Center for Food Safety came forward, and examined the possible threat the GloFish held. 

It was found to be safe for the environment and was permitted to be sold publicly. Many states, including California and many pet stores such as PetSmart, declined to sell GloFish. 

Even the hobbyists were grouped in two, one who wanted GloFish as their pet and the other who found GloFish to destroy nature. 

The real controversy was that many claimed the GloFish to be hazardous and wanted fish to grow in the natural way possible as people wanted them to stop playing with nature. 

Moreover, they claimed the technology moves way faster than people’s ability, which still needs to be modernized. [Source]

Then again, the risk associated with GloFish was considered negligible as they were supposed to be infertile.

Many reports have suggested many GloFish have been capable of breeding all by themselves, which also carried the inherited genes. However, till today no GloFish were found to cause any trouble to nature. 

Even though many stories were made and controversies came in the limelight, nothing could have beat the company as they have always proved GloFish to be safe for nature and the environment.

Are GloFish Artificially Colored?

GloFish is one of the kinds which are genetically modified. They are fluorescent fish that come only in specific patented colors. 

The most unique and admirable feature of GloFish is that they can glow in the dark. The mesmerizing color of GloFish will surely fascinate you. 

These freshwater fish are not artificially colored or dyed using harmful substances. Instead of artificially coloring the fish, the GloFish are provided with the DNA that helps them glow in the dark.

That is, the unique feature the GloFish carries comes hereditary, which can be passed on from generation to generation.  

First, fish from specific species that already exist in the environment are taken, then their DNA is structured in a specific way that enhances them with their amazing glowing capabilities.

As a side note, to know if neon tetras are artificially colored or not, check out my recent article on, Are Neon Tetras Artificially Colored?

Are GloFish Genetically Modified To Glow?

The short answer is, Yes. GloFish has nothing artificial in them. Although the glow might seem artificially done, they are not dyed or injected with such colors. 

The DNA structure that is provided to them makes them capable of glowing in the dark. Well, even though the characteristics are provided genetically, they need a specific time under the UV light in order to absorb the light which they eventually emit in the dark. 

As you can see, the whole process is done naturally just by modifying the DNA; the process genetically enhances them with the capability to grow. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of GloFish?

GloFish are very beautiful fish that can enhance the overall aquariums environment. But did you know, GloFish can carry numerous drawbacks?

Well, let me list down all the disadvantages of GloFish;

  1. People being extra cautious can get terrified of genetically modified animals or fish. Such modification can lead to destruction and lead to harmful effects on society. 
  2. GloFish are parent fish that cannot be bred or sold legally. 
  3. GloFish is subjected to pressure treatment for the glowing feature, which can cause infertility.
  4. The original reason for genetically developing various fish species was to check the water purification level to which they did not stick to. 
  5. They cannot survive in the regular waterways.

Can GloFish Have Babies?

GloFish are modified in certain ways that can make them infertile. The point to be noted here is that the original intention was to make them infertile so that they could not breed and others could not sell them. 

However, many hobbyists have claimed that the GloFish they have can breed. Although they cannot get pregnant, that is, they cannot hold the live fish babies; they can lay eggs. 

I highly recommend you to check out our article on Can GloFish Have Babies? This article will provide you with the exact information you need on the reproduction process of various types of GloFish. 

Are GloFish Cruel?

No, having GloFish or breeding GloFish is not cruel. They are not injected with harmful substances, nor do they leave a bad impact on the environment. They are genetically modified, which is just a natural procedure. 

Are GloFish Injected With Dye?

No, GloFish are neither injected with color nor dyed. In order to have the quality to glow in the dark, they need genetically modified DNA that helps them glow at night. Moreover, they can control the brightness of their skin color. 

Are GloFish Natural?

GloFish are not artificial, but they are genetically modified using techniques to restructure regular fish’s DNA so that they can have the quality to absorb and emit light.

They are not artificially colored or dyed, and the color comes naturally due to the characteristics of the newly introduced DNA holds.

Recommended Article: Do GloFish Need Blue Light?

Asif Iqbal

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