I note with interest that scientists in Japan have genetically modified a marmoset and some mice to glow in the dark. I also note how excited they are that this new trait is passed to their descendants.
Hmm … a genetically modified race of reproducing monkeys … what could possibly go wrong? You know, with a bit of work, I think there may well be the makings of a movie in there somewhere!
I am confident that anyone who has watched 28 Days Later, Black Sheep or any of a zillion other GM-themed sci-fi flicks are – at this very moment – trying to make their homes insane-zombie-monkey-proof, and buying a carload of canned food from Sainsbury’s. This should get you a good collection of Nectar Points, though I’m not sure how useful they’ll be after ZM-day.
If you don’t feel your house can be made safe enough, you can join me at Centerparcs, which I reckon is an excellent place to live out the post-Zombie-Apocalyptic existence. Big fence around the whole place, a good collection of weaponry in the archery and sporting departments, and I always think that those big kiddie climbing frames would make for a great Last Stand.
Putting aside our preparations for the end of the world … I feel we have reached something of a turning point in genetic engineering. We seem to have dropped all pretense of performing dull experiments in petri dishes; experiments so dull they need not be explained to anyone outside of the lab. Instead these experiments have suddenly become ones that we – the easily amused Joe-Publics of the UK – can take an interest in. We have reached the “wouldn’t it be cool if…” stage; splicing a second tail onto dogs (“isn’t he pleased to see you!”) and creating a breed of cod that hatch already boned and battered.
The idea that these new advancements are coming from the motheaten, patches-on-elbows, tweed-jacketed scientists we’re all used to just does not sit well with me. Clearly we are witnessing the upcoming of a new breed of Young Scientist: ones of the iPhone-owning, Twittering, Guitar-Hero-playing, Internet-shopping generation. The declining attendance in “classic” sciences at University have forced scientific institutions to accept those they would normally filter out: post-grads who use the world “cool” in everyday conversation, read “Heat” Magazine and drive Smart ForTwos. These are the Scientists of Tomorrow – and they’re suggesting things like “wouldn’t it be cool if I could breed a monkey that could glow in the dark? It would just finish off my ghostly-pirate-Halloween-costume, innit? Got a fancy-dress party next week.”. That mouse with the human ear growing from his back suddenly seems quite tame in comparison.
In keeping with “what the public want to see their taxes spent on” I predict we will see less in the way of medical research (cures for Cancer, Diabetes and Dandruff) as these are quite dull, and more in the way of dinner-party conversation starters. Designer pets would be an obvious first step:
- Hamsters with the properties of one of those very bouncy rubber balls
- Parrots with an iPod interface (“look – mine can do ‘Kings of Leon’!”)
- Your favourite animal, with fur in the pattern of the national flag of your choice (for the World Cup)
- Magnetic Guinea Pigs that you can stick to the fridge (how funny would THAT be!)
- Boneless, sticky-rubber cats that you could throw against the window and watch them roll down
- A budgie that doubles as a bottle-opener
- Undead, insane, glow-in-the-dark, zombie Marmosets
To these new scientists: I salute you, your God-complex, and the brave pathways of innovation you cut through the jungle of Friday afternoon boredom. Continue in your quest to mess with nature “‘cos it’ll be a larf”, and we’ll all look forward to seeing cats with Velcro fur in the near future. But I’ll be saluting you from a good vantage point on top of the hill near the crazy-golf course, and I’ll have my sniper-rifle with me.
If you can think of any other good animal modifications, comment away!