Genetic engineering is the field that is playing god. It doesn’t matter how much of a forward-thinking you are – there’s something weird about it. Here is a list of some of the mind-boggling experiments:
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1) Live bacon
Yeah, you read that right – actual live bacon!
If only there were some creatures that didn’t feel pain or think, and only grew plumper and more scrumptious until you could tear it apart with your teeth without guilt. Scientists have actually produced non-sentient blobs of edible pork cells.
There are many advantages of cloned meat. It can be produced large enough quantities and cheaply without harming real animals that it could help in reducing world hunger and minimize the environmental damage caused by the meat industry. Assuming, you know, people want to eat quasi-living blobs of pork!
2) HeLa cells
Henrietta Lacks had a cell sample taken from a tumor, without her consent. She died later that year, but her tumors lived on as the HeLa cell line and served as the basis of much groundbreaking research. Lacks’ cells spread like the plague among the scientific community, partly because of their incredible research value and also because they literally spread like a plague.
HeLa cells are immortal, meaning that the cells have continued to grow and thrive years after it was first extracted from her tumors. If introduced into a petri-dish with another type of cell, HeLa easily overwhelms the other cells within weeks. It takes about two-thirds of the time it takes for other cells to do the same.
So what’s weird about that? To this date, scientists had grown around 20 tons of HeLa cells, 400 times the woman’s body weight when she was alive!
Over half a century later, HeLa continues to thrive. Some scientists want to declare HeLa an actual unique species in itself. Aside from its origin, it eats and reproduces independently like any other unicellular species.
3) Mice which Produced Drinkable Milk
Researchers finally have bred mice, which makes milk for your baby to drink.
It’s all about lactoferrin, a substance in breast milk that boosts infant immune systems. According to National Geographic, human milk contains only four to five grams of the stuff per liter. But mice produce milk that is naturally rich in protein, so if you can program them to make lactoferrin instead of squandering it on useless cheese-eating mouse proteins, they can produce milk that includes up to 160 grams per liter.
4 The Humster
This is one of the weirdest on this list.
What happens if you inject human sperm into a hamster’s egg cell? Genetic engineers know because they’ve done it.
If you think this is a hamster that hums, you’re pronouncing it wrong. It’s a human-hamster hybrid.
Now, like many hybrid embryos, the humster is completely unviable. And as the rule is destroyed long before it can mutate into a horrifying real-life version of Master Splinter. And to be fair, there are legitimate scientific reasons for creating a humster. Human embryos are difficult to procure for experiments and are protected by legal restrictions. Hamster embryos, however, are fair game. So why not throw some human sperm at them?
5. Mice That Chirp Like Birds
Most of the useful features that now come on the human body like eyebrows and arms started out as a mutation somewhere up the genetic line. It’s just that most of the time, the mutation is going to produce something terrifying. The Evolved Mouse Project genetically modified a handful of mice, increasing the likelihood of their DNA miscopying and therefore making them susceptible to mutation. The mice started reproducing, and from their mutant loins sprang hilarious abominations, including, for instance, one with stumpy legs and a tail like a dachshund.
6) Creating a new life from a mouse that was frozen for 16 years!
Scientists have created clones of a mouse that had been dead and frozen for 16 years. It is the first time they were able to clone a frozen animal. Critics say it brings the world closer to the day when people will try to clone long-dead relatives stored in cryopreservation clinics. It could even lead to a macabre new industry – in which people leave behind ‘relics’ of their bodies in freezers in the hope that they could one day be cloned. Although scientists have been cloning a host of different animals, using genetic material from single cells, they have always used living cells.
7) Growing human eyeballs
A genetic switch that gives tadpoles three eyes could allow stem-cell scientists to eventually grow human eyeballs or at least create replacement parts needed for repair jobs. If scientists could grow eyeballs from stem cells in the lab, the process would be a boon to individuals with damage to cells within the eye.
Scientists investigated how “ectoenzyme” molecules, which are located on the external surface of cells, contributed to the development of locomotion in the African clawed frog. The biologists injected the molecules into frog embryos that comprised just eight cells.
One of the ectoenzymes triggered wonky eye development. When added to cells that would eventually form the head, the resulting tadpole sported three eyes instead of two.
An even stranger sight resulted when they injected the ectoenzyme into other developing body cells. The molecule caused an additional “ectopic” eye, leading to tadpoles with a spare peeper growing out of the side, abdomen, or even along the tail.
8) Nazi scientist had created twin tower
Josef Mengele, AKA angel of death, had a mission to create a master race fit for the Third Reich. His task was to carry out experiments to discover by what method of genetic quirk twins were produced and then to artificially increase the Aryan birthrate for his master, Adolf Hitler!
Historians claim Mengele’s notorious experiments may have borne fruit. For years scientists have failed to discover why as many as one in five pregnancies in a small Brazilian town have resulted in twins – most of them blond-haired and blue-eyed.
But residents of Candido Godoi now claim that Mengele made repeated visits there in the early 1960s, posing at first as a vet but then offering medical treatment to the women of the town. Shuttling between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, he managed to evade justice before his death in 1979, but his dreams of a Nazi master race appeared unfulfilled
9) Mosquitoes fighting other mosquitoes
A genetically modified (GM) strain of malaria-resistant mosquito has been created that is better able to survive than disease-carrying insects.
It gives new impetus to one strategy for controlling the disease: introduce a transgenic mosquito carrying a gene that confers resistance to the malaria parasite into wild populations in the hope that they will take over. These mosquitoes had another gene inserted into them to make their eyes fluoresce, to distinguish them from the ordinary strain. The insect carries a gene that prevents infection by the malaria parasite. The researchers caution that their studies are still at an early stage and that it could be ten years or more before engineered insects are released into the environment. The approach exploits the fact that the health of infected mosquitoes is itself compromised by the parasite they spread. Insects that cannot be invaded by the parasite are therefore likely to be fitter and out-compete their disease-carrying counterparts.
10) Glowing animals
We all know about jellyfish and seahorses that glow. But scientists have taken a step further by making glowing jellyfish monkeys -creatures that combine the uncanny intelligence of our closest animal relatives with the squishy bioluminescence of nature’s toxic disco-sticks. And as of 2009, scientists have invented monkeys that not only glow but pass their radioactive essence on to their children.
There was a case of the Ruby Puppy (the Ruppy), dogs that glow red under ultraviolet light after having been spliced with genes from sea anemones. Furthermore, South Korean scientists claim to have produced glowing cats!