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Techno Animal Roundup

May 4, 2012

Researchers are breeding specialized fish that glow when exposed to industrial pollutants.



Making a robot shellfish. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Insects are ubiquitous on land, while shellfish are common in oceans and lakes. Which makes them ideal for collecting data. For example, clandestine cockroaches could spy on enemy outposts, and stealth snails could track submarines. But even tiny cameras and microphones need electricity. In the Journal of American Chemical Society, scientists report that they’ve designed a system of implantable electrodes that turn snails and cockroaches into living batteries that run on a portion of the food they eat.

In other experimental animal news, British researchers have developed zebrafish that glow green when they encounter industrial pollutants called endocrine disrupting chemicals. In addition, the fish glow only in the parts of their bodies effected by the pollutants. Knowing where the chemicals are active in the zebrafish will help scientists better understand the pollutants’ effects on people. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.