GM animals

GM animals section

Researchers have genetically modified and/or cloned mammals (including farm animals, pets, and laboratory animals), birds, fish and insects.

Many GM animals (mainly mice) are used in laboratories for medical research. Farm animals have been genetically modified to produce drugs in their milk or to try to improve meat quality and pets have been cloned or genetically engineered to make them glow (goldfish) or try to make them non-allergenic (cats).

GM laboratory animals are widely used but most other GM animals are still at the research stage and have yet to be successful on the commercial market.

The first GM animal likely to be marketed as food is a GM salmon, which is awaiting approval for human consumption in the USA.

Tens of millions of GM mosquitoes are being released in Brazil by the UK company Oxitec in experiments intended to tackle the tropical mosquito-borne disease dengue fever. The company wants to release GM agricultural pests, including olive flies and fruit flies, in the future.

Concerns about GM animals include concerns about animal welfare issues (particularly for mammals) and complex and unpredictable impacts on ecosystems, including wild species and diseases (particularly for birds, fish and insects released or escaping into the environment). There are also concerns about introducing meat, milk and fish from GM or cloned animals into the human diet and about contamination of the human food chain with GM insects, if they are used in agriculture.


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