GloFish® fluorescent fish are wonderful fish that add brilliant color and excitement to any home, office, or classroom aquarium.
GloFish are similar to other fish, except they have a much brighter disposition. GloFish are available in six stunning colors: Starfire Red®, Electric Green®, Sunburst Orange®, Cosmic Blue®, Galactic Purple®, and Moonrise Pink™.
Today’s GloFish fluorescent fish are bred from the offspring of fluorescent fish that were originally developed several years ago. Each new GloFish inherits its unique color directly from its parents, maintains the color throughout its life, and passes the color along to its offspring.
The Science of GloFish
Where do GloFish fluorescent fish come from? GloFish were originally bred more than ten years ago to help detect environmental pollutants. By adding a naturally derived fluorescence gene to the fish, scientists hoped to quickly and easily determine when a waterway is contaminated. The first step in developing a pollution-detecting fish was to create fish that would be fluorescent all the time. Scientists soon realized the public’s interest in sharing the benefits of this research, a process which led to GloFish fluorescent fish.
How common are fluorescent fish in nature? Fluorescent fish are very common in nature. In fact, a recent study conducted by the American Museum of Natural History found more than 180 species of fish that are naturally fluorescent under blue light. Fluorescent fish can be observed expressing vibrant green, red, and orange fluorescence patterns across a very diverse range of species, including more than 50 families. For more details, please click here.
How do GloFish compare to naturally occurring fluorescent fish? As noted above, fluorescent fish are very common in nature. They can be observed in vibrant green, red, and orange colors. As seen here, these colors are strikingly similar to the fluorescence colors expressed by our Electric Green®, Starfire Red®, and Sunburst Orange® GloFish.
What other types of organisms are naturally fluorescent? In addition to fish, fluorescence has been commonly observed in certain types of corals and other marine life, and fluorescence signaling has been reported in butterflies, parrots, spiders, and even flowers. It has been suggested that they function to assist with things such as visual contrast, antioxidation, photoacclimation, and health. Please click here for more details.
How common is the use of fluorescent fish in science? For almost two decades, fluorescent fish have been relied upon by scientists worldwide to better understand important questions in genetics, molecular biology, and vertebrate development. Fluorescent fish have been particularly helpful in understanding cellular disease and development, as well as cancer and gene therapy.
Where does the fluorescent color come from? The fluorescent color in GloFish is produced by a fluorescent protein gene, which creates the beautiful fluorescence that can be seen when looking at the fish. The fluorescent protein genes are derived from naturally occurring genes found in marine organisms.
Are GloFish dyed, injected, or individually altered? No, they are born beautiful! GloFish® fluorescent fish are traditionally bred; they are not dyed, injected or individually altered in any way. Their unique color is a hereditary trait that is passed from generation to generation, just like any other genetic trait.
How exactly do GloFish help in the fight against pollution? To achieve their goal of helping to fight water pollution, scientists have developed a ‘switch’ that will cause always-fluorescing fish to selectively fluoresce in the presence of environmental toxins. A non-fluorescing fish will signal that the water is safe, while a fluorescing fish will signal trouble. To help further the research, a portion of the proceeds from sales of all GloFish goes directly to the lab where these fish were originally created.
Exactly how do the GloFish become fluorescent? Every variety of GloFish fluorescent fish (i.e., Starfire Red® Danio) began with a single fish. The general process of developing fluorescent fish, as illustrated in this chart (Development of Transgenic Fish), begins by adding a fluorescence gene to the fish before it hatches from its egg. The developing fish will then be able to pass the fluorescence trait along to its offspring upon maturity. From that point forward, all subsequent fluorescent fish are the result of traditional breeding.
How do GloFish compare to their non-fluorescent counterparts? GloFish are like their non-fluorescent counterparts, just with a brighter disposition. They are exactly the same in terms of care, including everything from general care and temperature preferences to water quality and nutritional needs.
All from the Glo Fish site~!