Science is always muddying the waters as to what is and isn’t natural. Some people believe that nature shouldn’t be toyed with by humans. They think scientists are playing God and are harmfully affecting the natural order that was put on this earth for a reason. Others believe that every human creation is inherently natural, meaning that any scientific breakthrough is cosmically natural. Even those who don’t consider themselves religious have a stance on science intervening with nature. Some think it’s furthering human understanding of the world, and some think the consequences of the meddling are too drastic.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, everyone can admit that science has created some remarkable results when messing with nature, some of them even terrifying. Science is only evolving and growing as civilization continues, and each day, we are closer to an unthinkable scientific revelation. Russian scientists are closing in on trying to clone a woolly mammoth, allowing present humans to see what one would look like if we lived thousands of years ago.
When science meddles with nature, the results are striking. We’re at the point now where science can alter the genes of animals to make nature bend to its will. It isn’t “natural” by the traditional sense of the word, but we may be on the verge of redefining the term itself.
Have you ever wondered why science doesn’t just say “enough” and eradicate all mosquitoes? They are responsible for the spread of so many diseases; wouldn’t it be easier to get rid of them all?
Well, there’s a chance we’re heading in that direction, as scientists have been working on perfecting the dead-end mosquito. This mosquito is effectively sterile, meaning that if they were released into the public, none of their offspring would survive, drastically reducing the mosquito population.
It sounds like a great idea in theory, but there is some public backlash against the proposal to introduce thousands of genetically-modified insects to the population. The fish and birds that eat mosquitoes may be left without a food source. In addition, there are the unforeseen consequences that will only be measured after the mosquitoes are released.
Hopefully, this mouse couldn’t hear the gasps of disgust that resulted in its creation, but having an ear growing out of its back suggests that it may have some sort of ability. This thing is what Audioman (name is a work in progress) was bit by before gaining super-hearing strength and an appetite for cheese.
The ear mouse, also called the Vacanti Mouse, was created by Charles Vacanti and his team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1997. While the deformity in the mouse’s back is shaped like an ear, it isn’t actually a human ear. The ear is made of cartilage cells that were put into an ear-shaped mold and implanted under the mouse’s skin. The cartilage grew into the shape of the ear and the rest is history.
This piece of genetic engineering came as the internet was just getting in full swing. That means that the experiment picked up some traction and the traditional outrage at genetic engineering.
Using the genes of jellyfish to get other sea creatures to emit light or change color is pretty hot in the science streets at the moment. Glittering seahorses or golden seahorses were the first genetically-altered animal ever to come out of Vietnam, and they did so by using a similar method to that of those who created the GloFish.
Scientists in this field believe that the implications of these experiments is far greater than simple aesthetics. Sure, it would be cool to have a glittering gold seahorse in your fish tank, but researchers believe that there are countless applications for this type of method. They believe it will revolutionize farming, although GMOs are usually frowned upon by the public, as well as used in humans to replace harmful or unwanted genes.