The Council of Agriculture in Taiwan surprised the world last week by stating that they had successfully created fluorescent cichlids. These cichlids were created by breeding trangenic Convict cichlids and Angelfish.
The creation of this fish was the brain child of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s national research academy, and took just shy of 7 years to accomplish.
Some other innovative fish that this group has cooked up are the GloFish Zebra danio (Danio rerio) and the fluorescent Medaka (Oryzias latipes). These fish have been authorized for sale, and quite popular, since 2003 when they first hit the market in Taiwan as an aquarium fish.
Dr. Chih-Yi Chen, the head of the investigative team which created this cichlid, has stated that creating this cichlid took a lot of effort because of the lack of control they had over the spawning process, as compared to the smaller fish they previously tinkered with.
The scientists had to literally sit by the aquarium and wait for the fish to spawn so that the gene fragments could be immediately inserted into the Convict cichlid eggs. If it is not injected immediately, the results don’t seem to take.. This made the whole process very fickle.
An even greater obstacle was overcome, when they were in the process of spawning the fluorescent angelfish, as the couldn’t use micro-injection techniques in the same manner as with the Convict cichlids. In this case, they needed to apply an electric field to the cell membrane, in order to inject the gene fragments.
Well, they pulled it off.. The only question now is… What the heck is it good for? A fish nightlight?