List of chimeric animals that humans have created by mixing DNA. The purpose for which they are created and why some were… destroyed.
In Greek mythology a chimera is an animal with the head and chest of a lion, the tail of a serpent and the belly of a goat.
If the existence of this chimera is a legend, today they exist for specific reasons.
The chimeras that men have created and their reasons for being
A chimera by definition is an organism having two or more varieties of cells with different genetic origins. [source: Larousse].
To begin, let's learn about the sudden death mosquito.
1 - Sudden death mosquito
THEcompany biotechnology Oxitec has created a genetically modified mosquito to fight against a virus that is all the rage in Asia and South America. This is the Dengue virus.
These chimeras have a very limited lifespan and are programmed to attack their victims who may carry the virus.
The Dengue virus appeared almost 200 years ago and existed in the benign form.
After World War II its deadliest form appeared causing hemorrhagic fever. It has become the deadliest of all mosquito-borne viruses worldwide.
Today, we do not yet know of a treatment to cure this disease.
The Dengue virus is fortunately not transmitted from person to person but only from the Aedes aegypti type mosquito to its victims, the solution would be to eliminate the source.
Rather than letting yourself be killed, why not kill first? It is to this principle that the British company Oxitec responds by creating “sudden death” mosquitoes.
This mosquito is a genetically modified form of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that often carry the virus.
The Sudden Death Mosquito's modus operandi is quite unusual. They kill its victims by going to mate with the latter.
Wild females will be killed with their young as well as wild males by developing genes that will be fatal to them.
This method will allow on a large scale to considerably reduce the reproduction of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus.
The chimeras themselves have a very limited lifespan so will naturally die within a few days.
2-. Chimera fish: GloFish
The glofish is a chimeric fish created from the gene of the zebrafish and the proteins of a fluorescent jellyfish.
This chimera was created in 1999 and patented in 2000 by Dr. Zhiyuan Gong and his colleagues at the University of Singapore.
This fish was intended to serve as an indicator of pollution. The glofish in contact with polluted water emits a glow of red, orange and green in the dark according to its race.
It is also the first genetically modified animal available as a pet.
3- Vacanti's mouse
This mouse was created in 1995 by Dr. Charles Vacanti at the University of Massachusetts.
This chimera is known to be the mouse on which a human ear grows. The truth is, this ear is made by transplanting cow cartilage cells into a biodegradable ear-shaped mold.
The aim was to prove that it is possible to transplant cartilage with a modified shape into a human body.
Experimentation is a big step forward in the world of medicine. This would heal people who have lost their ears or part of their body by making them grow back on the victim.
We are witnessing what could become one of the alternatives to organ transplant methods.
4- Insects that shit oil
Silicone Valley researchers have created an insect that feeds on the remains of agricultural products.
They have the particularity of evacuating oil as excrement.
5- A dog that doesn't pop
China in its project to develop a "clean" animal has created the first transgenic dog that does not defecate.
We love dogs for several reasons, including their pleasant company. The problem is that this mammal is not easy to maintain. You have to regularly remove their “poo”.
For this reason, the BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute) had the ingenious idea of creating a "clean" animal as part of the establishment of the genetic map of obesity.
The result of this Chinese research institute is the creation of a dog that does not defecate.
This chimera is created by gene modification to create a closed cycle of digestion. The food consumed by this mammal is burned in the stomach by special enzymes intended for this purpose.
Unfortunately it is still very far from commercialization, because according to its creators, its farts smell too bad.
Problem with creating chimeras
It should be known for each chimera created, there were several others who died in the experiments, either by birth defect or incompatible cells.
Yet that's how many drugs have been created, many diseases have been studied and analyzed.
Many epidemics have also been solved by these procedures.
Can we say that it is a blessing in disguise? (In my opinion, we should leave the animals alone).
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