Bio-customization technique used to design shoes

The Rayfish Footwear company claims it can creates personalized sneakers made from genuine stingray leather. Their groundbreaking bio-customization technique should allows their customers to design… a transgenic Rayfish, so they can save the skin to craft a unique pair of shoes.

“One fish, one shoe”

Instead of printing, or dying the stingray skin, Rayfish Footwear should allows you to create a unique pattern for your shoes by combining fishes genes from dozens of animal specific patterns and colors. With the design tool available on their website, you can mix them into something nature could have never imagined. “Each pair of shoe is crafted according to the company principle ‘one fish, one shoe’ principle. “All we have to do is identify the genes responsible for coloration and patterning, and then implant the ‘supergene’ cluster into fetal rays before they are born. As the ray grows over the course of several months, it gradually expresses the predetermined patterns on its skin,” the company spokesman says.

A concept that seems going beyond the limits of what is now possible with modern genetic engineering

Concretely, once you’ve found the perfect match, the company will combine all the different rayfish genetic traits together in its aquaculture laboratory in Thailand to produce THE naturally genetic manipulated fish with the natural skin that will looks like your design (as close as they can manage, hopefully, nature may have caprices). The concept seems going beyond the limits of what is now possible with modern genetic engineering but the company website claim they successfully engineered their first fully bio-customized stingray in 2011.

Rayfish sneakers will cost approximately $1,800

Rayfish is running a design contest to allow entrants to win a pair of the sneakers. The online store will go live after the Grow Your Own Sneaker contest period has ended. Pricing of a pair of genuine Rayfish sneakers currently ranges from $14,800 to $16,200, depending on your shoe size and the complexity of the desired pattern. Once regular production will begin in late 2012, Rayfish sneakers will cost approximately $1,800. This price will include bio-customization of a pair of stingrays, growing the shoes to maturity, and shipping them to any address on the planet!


Updated 16 August 2012: On 11 August, a video  was posted to YouTube where a group of activists claimed they break into the company’s aquaculture laboratory and released the transgenic rays into the sea. The idea of animal rights activists releasing genetically-modified organisms into the wild seems completely whimsical. It seems that the whole thing could be an hoax.

This post is also available in: French


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