In a technological demonstration of advanced bio-engineering, use of methods like vivisection to see the workings of organs in live goldfish have now, in a sense, been made obsolete. “You don’t have to cut it open. You can see a tiny brain above the goldfish’s black eyes,” says Yutaka Tamaru, an associate professor in the department of life science at Mie University.

Indeed, a new process has produced the favorable result of goldfish with translucent skin, in response to growing controversy regarding dissections of animals for study.

Calling the see-through fish “ryukin,” the goldfish were produced through a process of selectively breeding varieties of “mutant” hatchery goldfish with pale skin. “Having a pale colour is a disadvantage for goldfish in an aquarium but it’s good to see how organs sit in a body three-dimensionally,” Tamaru told AFP.

This is the second instance of bio-engineering that has successfully produced translucent animals. In 2007, a team of researchers at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of Hiroshima University also managed to breed light-skinned frogs, creating creatures whose organs can be observed from the minute life stages of tadpole squiggling, to froggy kick-swimming. Such processes are believed to be more humane, and will hopefully curb the dissent of animal rights activists who have suggested other humane methods of study that include computer simulations.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at