The Guardian: GM mouse created to detect landmines
The genetically modified mouse is five hundred times more sensitive to the smell of explosive than a normal mouse.
Scientists have genetically modified mice to enable them to sniff out landmines. They hope the GM mouse, known as MouSensor, could one day become a useful tool to help deal with the dangerous legacies of past wars.
More than 70 countries are contaminated by landmines, a constant reminder of previous conflicts. "Long after wars have ended, communities are still impeded from going back to their normal, daily activities because of all these mines still affecting their land," said Charlotte D'Hulst of Hunter College, New York, who led the team that developed the MouSensor.
One approach to clearing landmines is to use HeroRats, giant pouched rats that are trained to sniff out landmines by the Belgian NGO, Apopo.
Two of these, with a human handler, can clear an area of 300 sq metres in less than two hours. It would take two people about two days to do the same. One disadvantage of the HeroRats system, however, is that the rats need nine months' training before they are ready for landmine detection. ...
Am I the only one who finds this a little wierd? Who goes to be bed at night and thinks, "Gee. I wonder if I could breed bomb-sniffing rodents?" I suspect the mice would appreciate some GM that would improve feline detection faculties.
Seriously, I don't have a problem with this particular application of GM but just think of the moral and ethical implications this is going to have has we begin to tinker with humans.