Hatched, stems from an interest in the effect science can have on an animal through genetic modification. Genetic modification (GM), genetic manipulation (GM) and genetic engineering (GE) all refer to the same thing – the use of modern biotechnology techniques to change the genes of an organism, such as a plant or animal. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant, animal or other organism that has been changed using genetic modification.
The final new plant variety or breed of animal will hopefully just have the desired traits, which it will have inherited from its ancestors along with the associated genes for those traits. Traditional breeding is a way of harnessing the genetic resources of an organism by selectively breeding animals with the desired gene pool and disregarding animals who don’t meet the required criteria.
GM breeding is used because it can change the genes of an organism in ways not possible through traditional breeding techniques providing opportunities for new plant varieties and animal breeds.
Although ducks in general are known for their hybridizing ways, none are as prolific and undiscriminating as the Mallard. Mallards can cross breed with 63 other species and in some cases Mallard genes threaten to flood the gene pool of other species.
Mallard ducks have extensively interbred, they are still opportunistically targeted by brood parasites, occasionally having eggs laid in their nests by Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Cinnamon Teals, Common Goldeneyes, and other Mallards. These eggs are generally accepted when they resemble the eggs of the host mallard, although the hen may attempt to eject them or even abandon the nest if parasitism occurs during egg laying. Mallards of all ages (particularly young ones) and in all locations must contend with a wide diversity of predators including Raptors, Mustelids, Corvids, Snakes, Raccoons, Opossums, Skunks, Turtles, Large Fish, and Felids, and Canids, including domesticated ones. The most prolific natural predators of adult mallards are the red Fox and the Hawk, although both kill far fewer than human hunters.
“Hatched”, demonstrates a genetically modified Mallard duck, one that has not been seen before. The scale of Hatched suggests that this particular genetically modified Mallard, which is in the process of hatching from the conical flask, will be a super Mallard, bigger, stronger and more intelligent than ever. Hatched contains a fantastical/surreal element, that again, blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.