A company called Rayfish Footwear claims to bring consumers shoes made out of genetically engineered stingrays. The resulting shoes look very distinctive, but there has been some backlash against the ethics behind such products as well as the claims the company has made.
For $1,800, the company states that it will bring customization to a whole new level, allowing customers to choose their own personalized design, and then growing a genetically engineered stingray that will be used to make the shoes once it reaches maturity. Rayfish Footwear claims that the DNA comes from their one stored genetic library, in which they have identified the genes in stingrays responsible for color and pattern.
The company goes on to say that they implant the synthetic supergene clusters into fetal rays before they are born. Customers can use the company’s Grow Sneaker Tool to select the patterns that they desire. The company produces their wares in Thailand, where the shoes are handcrafted.
David Edwards, a biological engineer at Harvard University, states that the claims are suspect. The company claims to have an understanding that they don’t possess. The ethics of this, as well as the legality are disturbing.
The stingrays take apparently six to eight months to produce in the Rayfish facility. PETA condemns this and says that this sounds like something out of a horror film.