THE MILITARY WANTS GENETICALLY-MODIFIED SEA CREATURES TO SNITCH ON ENEMY SHIPS | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


THE MILITARY WANTS GENETICALLY-MODIFIED SEA CREATURES TO SNITCH ON ENEMY SHIPS

The US military wants to enlist fish and other sea life to help it track enemy warships and submarines at sea. The Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors program could also modify existing species to make them better underwater spies, an effort that would face stiff opposition from environmental groups.

he Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s blue-sky research and development wing, announced the PALS earlier this month. The program "will study natural and modified organisms to determine which ones could best support sensor systems that detect the movement of manned and unmanned underwater vehicles," DARPA stated on its website.

And there's another obstacle: the objections of people and organizations opposed to the militarization of sea-dwelling creatures. "It is bad enough that the military regularly conducts exercises that impact large numbers of whales and dolphins, but now they want to actually involve marine mammals in their plans rather than just making them the victims," John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA's oceans campaigner, told me via email.

Adams said that DARPA would not include endangered species and "intelligent mammals" in the PALS program, but it's not clear how the agency defines "intelligent." The US Navy already uses trained dolphins and sea lions to find underwater mines and other objects. Nor has DARPA explained how it proposes to separate data provided by, say, an endangered tuna species from similar input from tuna species that aren't endangered.

Equally worrying, DARPA proposes to modify some species in order to optimize their senses for detecting manmade objects. The resulting breeds would essentially be genetically-modified organisms and could disrupt or even collapse existing ecosystems.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

DNA is the fundamental building block of life; tamper with that too intensely, and we may well find this planet uninhabitable.</strong>

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