These genetic engineered fish were originally used for water test due to their ability to "glow" under certain water conditions. Glofish were introduced to the United States in 2003. Now you can see them in Walmart for $5.99~6.99 a piece.
Glofish will school and breed with regular Zebra Danio. (If they get released into their natural habitat, they could change the entire species). They also act exactly the same as their original. The only noticeable difference is the appearance.
I know people have been selective breed for centuries. Creating specific traits or mutation among many animals. It is still different from inserting an entirely different species' DNA to genetically engineer it.
Personally I think it might bring some unexpected terrible results if we keep manipulating species. Mostly due to what if they get released into their original natural habitat. They might mess up the nature.
I am not terribly "hate" it, just like you, I don't like it much.
However, some genetic engineered pets are quite popular. I am a fish person, so I can mostly only give examples from the fish industry.
Aside the Zebra Danio turned into Glofish example from above, there is another kind of very popular genetically manipulated fish called Blood Parrot. They are a cross between several different South American cichlids. The result is, they all have deformation. Their mouth can never close, and they are infertile in most cases. Many people find them cute and they are very popular. Of course, there are a lot of criticism too for the creation of Blood Parrot.
I am not sure if crossbreed should be counted as genetic engineering, since it resulted in infertile.
Check this out. More genetically manipulated glowing fish.
How long will it be before genetically engineered pets replace the natural pets to become the mainstream?
Well, there are upsides. If you could completely genetically engineer animals for the pet trade, you may relieve some of the stress on the natural environment by relieving some of the harvesting for pets. And I do like some of the fish. I have never seen those parrot fish. I just don't think some of the companies put enough thought into this before selling them. What if there is a side effect of one of these genetically altered danios being susceptible to a bacteria that they are immune to in their natural environment. Then some of them get into the natural population, breed, and the whole population slowly dies off before the introduced fish fall prey to it. Just one of a million things that could go wrong that nobody has tested yet. For an example, see: Africanized honey bee
I have watched it on TV over a decade ago about Africanized bee. Those African bees produce a whole lot more honey than European bees. So those people imported African bees in order to increase honey production. Those bees are extremely aggressive and can kill people. They have moved from Brazil all the way into the U.S. already. Not exactly pets, but another example of messing with the nature.
As for the blood parrot, here is a photo.
Notice the mouth? It can't be closed. It is a deformation.
Well, just the point of messing with animals, that "won't be released into nature", and then are for whatever reason, and change things. In Florida, we have native green anoles, Anolis carolinensis, that have been almost completely run out and bred out by introduced brown anoles, Anolis sagrei. Not exactly pet related, but anytime you play with animals, you risk messing up natural ecosystems. In Australia, you can't import or export anything. Which rather bums me personally, as I have a real fondness for allot of the native Australian reptiles, but they have had enough just from the camels and cane toads. You can actually receive a prison sentence if you are found with a corn snake. It is extreme, but they don't want anything screwing with the unique ecology there and all of the unique species. And here in Florida as well, there have been studies that have shown during the spring, the introduced Nile monitors, Varanus niloticus, are using green iguana eggs, Iguana iguana, as a primary food source. So we now have non-native species using other non-native species as a primary food source certain times of the year. Obviously a bit far from genetic engineering, but the same principle applies. If that deformity in the parrot fish goes along with the mutation, and it is inheritable, and a group of these got into the wild population, then, who knows?
I agree that the invasive species can be just as troublesome as the genetic engineered "mutants".
There is always a risk for escaped or abandoned pets become a local species if they adapt and survive in the new environment.
I thought the snakehead is a problem in many states now in the U.S. There was even a cheap scifi movie about mutated large snakeheads start to eat everything including people. Some large python from southeast Asia were caught on photo to swallow American alligator whole in the swamp.
Well that is off the topic.
Whatever pets you own, make sure they stay in captivity. I think there should be better law against the release of non native species into the wild, genetic engineered or not.
I have to admit, that, as much as I am not exactly happy they are in the everglades, it is kinda cool to be able to go out and find wild Burmese pythons. But that whole epic is indirectly pet related as well. There are allot of breeders of various things in south Florida, because the climate makes it easier. When I was headed through the homestead area years ago I saw what was reportedly a baboon farm. And there are warehouses of snakes and breeders down there, that is how the Burmese pythons got in there in the first place after hurricane Andrew. And after the storm was gone, and some of the guys were trying to get back to the Miami zoo, and were fielding calls about escaped animals, the answer to most of the calls was, "We don't even have any of those."