Last week, NAVS got word that a company, The Odin, had been selling “Frog Genetic Engineering Kits” that would allow the public to purchase animals for the purpose of conducting gene therapy experiments. Not only does the sale of these kits threaten the lives of the frogs being subjected to these experiments, but the risks to other animals, humans, and the environment also make the sale of these kits potentially dangerous.
Below, you can read NAVS’ full letter to the FDA, demanding an investigation of The Odin and the company’s products. We will keep you updated on any response we receive.
Dear U.S. Food and Drug Administration Regulator,
It has come to our attention that The Odin (www.the-odin.com) is selling to the public unregulated “gene therapy teaching kits” for use by anyone who has the money to buy a kit. The kit includes six frogs, 10 syringes of 20ug DNA mixed with transfection reagent and 10 syringes of PBS, live crickets to feed the frogs and other supplies to conduct this animal experiment.
While this kit—and many others sold by the company—purport to follow guidelines established by the NIH Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, it does not have the oversight or approval of any federal agency, and certainly not on an individual basis.
We have serious concerns about the sale of this and other kits by The Odin.
- In an unregulated environment, there is nothing to stop individuals, especially children, from injecting themselves or others with DNA;
- In an unregulated environment, there is nothing to stop individuals from using these kits from injecting other animals, including companion animals, with genetic material in the spirit of “experimenting” on animals generally;
- There is no oversight or control over disposal of materials during and after the experiment is done;
- Individuals have no oversight to ensure that they are treating the frogs humanely and properly caring for them when the experiment is over;
- The release of either crickets or green tree frogs into non-native environments could pose a risk to the animals and the environment into which they are released.
We ask you to please investigate this company and its products and determine whether the materials made available from The Odin are in the best interests of education, human health, and animal and environmental welfare.
Unfortunately, there is no address associated with this company, although it does provide a contact phone number on its website: (707) 879-8635.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response.