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Who is out there pushing the limits of plant and animal artificial selection/domestication/bioengineering?
June 28, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Who is out there pushing the whimsical/impractical limits of plant and animal artificial selection/domestication/bioengineering? Since reading about Belyaev's domesticated foxes, I'm curious to know about other ambitious programs where the desired end-product is less "stepwise cosmetic refinement" and more "3-foot-tall playful house-giraffe."

If humans can get a chihuahua or a great dane from some common-ancestor "ur-canid" in a couple of thousand years of somewhat unfocused trial and error, can not these forces be brought to bear more quickly with the tools and understanding we now possess? I guess I'm thinking of more fantastical and/or whimsical modifications to organisms, rather than, say, increased resistance to dutch-elm disease, or whatever. Who is trying things like these, and what are their results?

Also acceptable: hot-pink grapes, blueberries the size of cantaloupes, cantaloupes the size of blueberries, 1 meter wide venus flytraps, massively-lactating bats (for cheese production), red lightning-bugs, onion-flavored potatoes, etc.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, there is Einstein the Horse, a product of miniature horse breeding.
posted by Alison at 8:04 AM on June 28, 2010


Dunno if it's what you have in mind, but Zaiger's Genetics has created such hybrid stonefruit as the aprium, the nectaplum and the peacotum.
posted by box at 8:25 AM on June 28, 2010


All I know is I want a House Hippo. I will be watching this thread with interest.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:51 AM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about a fluorescent cat?
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 8:56 AM on June 28, 2010


Eduardo Kac is an artist who works with these ideas. His 2000 piece "GFP Bunny" got a lot of attention and handwringing about the eeeeeeeevil world of transgenics.
posted by judith at 9:02 AM on June 28, 2010


And there's the Glo-Fish(r)!
posted by The otter lady at 9:06 AM on June 28, 2010


There's miniature cattle. And zebu. (Full sized zebu, in case you're wondering.)
posted by jamaro at 10:00 AM on June 28, 2010


Also, because you mentioned flytraps and because I grow them, the biggest we've gotten thus far is the B-52 cultivar, which grows traps 3-4x larger than a standard Dionaea.
posted by jamaro at 10:09 AM on June 28, 2010


I can't find a better link but a gang in England want to make glow in the dark Christmas trees.
posted by oddman at 11:34 AM on June 28, 2010


Do teacup pigs fit your criteria? These guys are going to be on every birthday and x-mas wish list until I own one.
posted by a.steele at 3:01 PM on June 28, 2010


Savannah cats are domestic cat/ serval (wild cat) hybrids bred to give people a wild looking housepet with a somewhat more pedictable temperment.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:23 PM on June 28, 2010


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