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Ever since humans first tamed a friendly wolf, we’ve been shaping animals to conform to our needs and wants. Just look at a Siberian husky next to a poofy, orange Pomeranian. Science journalist Emily Anthes’ new book, Frankenstein’s Cat, explores animals created by molecular genetics or wired up to electronics, but, she says, the ethical questions that come along with these futuristic critters are not completely new.
Anthes considers herself an animal lover— she shares her author photo with her pooch, Milo—and the book works through her thoughts on animal welfare and science.
From pretty glow-in-the-dark pet fish to goats that make anti-diarrhea milk, biotech animals cover an incredibly broad range. “Biotechnology sometimes get talked about as if it’s this monolithic entity that only has one meaning, like all genetic engineering is ethically the same,” she says, “We really need to start looking at individual cases and applications and highlight them.” So Anthes and I talked about some animals that may soon be found (and in some cases are already found) in pet shops, grocery stores, and research labs near you.