Jun 15, 2018 | By Sidney Morgan-Petro
The next step in customization reaches new levels with modified DNA for custom patterns on lab-grown stingrays. RayFish Footwear, a company based in Thailand, is pushing customization to new heights with their genetically modified stingray sneakers.
You heard that right. One trip to their website and you’ll get a pretty straight-forward explanation in layman’s terms as to what a “Grow Sneaker” is. With a design software tool you create a personalized pattern that can be achieved by combining DNA from various species to attain a truly one-of-a-kind pattern. “At the Rayfish Footwear labs, nature has already done the design work for us. All we have to do is identify the genes responsible for color and pattern, and implant the synthetic ‘supergene’ cluster into fetal rays before they are born. As the ray grows and matures, it expresses the predetermined patterns on its skin.”
At the moment the brand is promoting their product with a soft launch and design contests in their website. The winner will get their bio-customized sneakers within 6-8 months (the average time it takes to grow a “sneaker-sized” stingray), but those who don’t get first prize and are eager to obtain a pair immediately, the company is willing to accommodate production for serious inquiries at an average cost of $14,000-$16,000.
Of course this process will raise many questions among animal activists, but regardless of the verdict, if one can be reached in regards to their ethical approach, this technological advancement is incredibly interesting. Check out the gallery of the top designs submitted, along with the latest winning design. -Jenn Tello
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