Glowing Fish & Bucketfuls of Spider Silk in Goat Milk, Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes Showcases Some of the Wonders of the Biotechnological World While also Raising Some Important Questions!

Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts - Emily Anthes




The penultimate installment in Project Frankenstein was a joy to read. It was relatively short and full of stuff that I find interesting. I am dividing this review into three parts:


1. Here is a Snippet from the book:



2. Then there were these Sciency Bits that I enjoyed ruminating upon:

Cloning other adult mammals reinforced the discovery that nuclear transfer can reset genes contained in specialized cells back to their embryonic state.

It meant that the genetic clock could supposedly be turned back if things didn’t go so well the first time!

It is my content that the northern grasslands would have remained viable…had the great herds of Pleistocene animals remained in place to maintain the landscape.

This occurred to me for the first time. Yes, the Ice Ages may have changed the landscape physically but it also caused the extinction of the grazers and caused changes in a roundabout way.

…(tuna) are warm-blooded, which makes them oddities in the fish world but keeps them toasty…

They are what?! Why are you doing this to me world? I was so happy, thinking all fish are cold-blooded but no! I hate nature!

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)

While The Sixth Extinction left me without hope, this book helped me see that we aren’t all bad eggs. Yes, humans have brought the onset of Anthropocene and change environment wherever they go…

We have harvested so many of these large deer, elk, and sheep over the centuries that many species have evolved smaller body and horn sizes. Similarly, fish have adapted to human harvesting by developing thinner bodies capable of sneaking out of nets.

Yet, organizations like ICCAT are keeping track of the number of bluefin tuna that are being pulled out of water annually. The Integrated Ocean Observing System is tagging elephant seals and other swimmers to gather information about the marine environment. Then there is Ocean Tracking Network that has been busy installing underwater listening stations that will pick up on tagged animals. The list of scientists and researchers trying to collect information goes on and on. There is even an attempt to engage the public and increase awareness via animal Facebook profiles. The point is, it took us decades if not more to wreck things. We will need some time to put them back together and it is a pity if nature doesn’t grant us that respite.


3. And a Franken-Bit that I shook an admonitory finger at:

The manufacturers of AquAdvantage salmon think that by producing only sterile female fish, they can keep them from reproducing or passing along their genes.



Even though the book raises pertinent questions about whether animals can incur psychological damage from being tagged, it doesn’t answer them. To be fair, most of us won’t be able to say no to a drug, if it would save a loved one, even if one or two clauses of animal rights weren’t observed!


Could you?




Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 23, 2017.