Manufactured Animals

Making man’s best friend even better

From the moment humans and wolves first decided to play nice with one another, humans have been directing the development of other animals. After 30,000 years, we have tiny chihuahuas, angora rabbits puffed like pompoms, and Belgian blue cattle with ‘double-muscling’. Our best friends are just as carefully designed as the latest piece of technology. There’s no doubt that we will bring whole ecosystems of manufactured animals into the world. Where selective breeding stops, genetic modification begins. Next nature will be overrun with next animals.

Inventing an Extinct Horse

ESSAY BY Allison Guy
August 18th 2011

Along with the Heck cattle and Scottish Highlanders, another reconstructed species roams the Dutch dunes.

The sturdy Konik horse, also known as the Polish primitive, is the result of an attempt to 'breed back' the tarpan, an extinct subspecies of wild horse. A forest-dwelling horse with a distinctive silver-gray coat, tarpans once roamed Western Europe through Russia. The endangered Przewalski's horse is the only surviving subspecies of the wild horse, Equus ferus, found only in zoos and in wild herds that have been reintroduced to places like Mongolia and Chernobyl.

The last wild tarpans were extirpated between the 1820s and 1890s, while the last captive tarpans died out somewhere between 1910 and 1920.…

The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill

In the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill, Banksy’s animals have a strange afterlife as consumer products.

GloFish

Rolf Coppens
March 23rd 2006

 

A tropical fish that fluoresces bright red is set to become the first genetically modified pet to go on sale in the US.…

Engineering Mosquitoes into Flying Vaccinators

Van Mensvoort
March 21st 2010

Scientists have developed a mosquito that spreads vaccine instead of disease. The researchers, led by molecular geneticist Shigeto Yoshida of Jichi Medical University in Tochigi Japan, transformed mosquitoes into vaccine-carrying syringes by genetically engineering the insects to express the vaccine for leishmaniasis – a parasitic disease transmitted by the sandfly – in their saliva.…

Birdfeeders spit Blackcaps in two species

Van Mensvoort
August 6th 2011

Until now, most people have likely regarded bird-feeders as merely a pleasant addition to their gardens. But scientists have now discovered that bird-feeders in the UK are actually having a serious long term impact on bird life – they've found that the feeders have brought about the first evolutionary step in the creation of a brand new species.…