A number of fish glow naturally through a
process called bioluminescence. They
have a chemical called luciferin that can
be caused to glow with an enzyme called
luciferase. Bioluminescence is found in
some deep sea fish, plankton, crustaceans and
other organisms. There is a web page here at UCSB
bioluminescence UCSB .
For unnatural methods, you mention one,
inserting genes from another animal to make the
fish glow. These organisms are transgenic.
Genes that can make the fish glow are inserted
into their genome during development. I cannot
think of another way to make a fish glow.
However, scientists do use fluorescent tags that
will glow when exposed to UV light. This is
different than either natural or transgenic
bioluminescence, since the energy for the chemical
glow comes from an external light source instead
of from within the animal.
The fluorescent tags for fish are a kind of
plastic that can be injected just under the fish's
skin. If the fish is caught again, it can be
recognized because the injected area will glow
under UV light.
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