Genetic engineering isn't just for scientists in ivory towers or corporate R&D labs anymore. Researchers are still creating new mice and crops every week, but the tools and knowledge necessary to create organisms never before seen on Earth have pushed out to pet breeders, artists and college kids. Wired counts down the top 10 of new organisms of 2007.
1. Ashera GD hypoallergenic cat
Lifestyle Pets has created a cat it calls the Ashera GD, which has been genetically engineered to be hypoallergenic. The high-tech blend of exotic cat varieties doesn't come cheap: This kitty in the window retails for $27,000 -- nothing to sneeze at. The ultra-rich around the world, however, don't mind the price tag. Six of the cats sold in December, three of them in the company's best market: Russia. Next year, expect a transgenic cat, which will remain kitten-size throughout its life.
2. Butanol-producing E. coli
Genetic engineering is getting so easy, even a kid can do it. A team of students from the University of Alberta, "the Butanerds," competed in the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition, creating an E. coli strain that produces butanol fuel (albeit rather inefficiently). The Butanerds have competition from a host of well-funded startups, like Synthetic Genomics and LS9, which are trying to genetically modify single-celled organisms to create the fuels of the future.
3. Artful fluorescent tadpoles
At an Ohio State art show earlier this year, Russian artist Dmitry Bulatov presented his genetically engineered tadpoles, which glow red and green. Bulatov, the curator of the Kaliningrad Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art in Russia, is one of a handful of artists around the world using biotechnology to create art. The field is controversial, because it involves experimenting with living things without a medical or therapeutic purpose. Bulatov edited a collection of essays on these issues called Biomediale: Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture.