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Scientists seek to isolate Webkinz gene


Associated Press -- Scientists recently announced the discovery of a whole new genus of animals, webkinz proliferus, or Webkinz. These animals, native to the vast and amorphous wilderness of the Internet, were discovered quite by accident by a Harvard biologist, after he inadvertently typed a string of wrong letters while trying to Google an unspecified rock band.

While different sub-species of Webkinz vary widely in appearance, all are of approximately equal size and cuteness. What most excites scientists about these new animals is their unique physiology. Apparently, so long as they are fed continuously, Webkinz can forgo sleep, exercise, evacuation and hygiene indefinitely, and suffer no ill effects. "We've never seen anything like this before," said Dr. Herman Kitt, chair of the Digital Life Research Association (DILRA). "The metabolism of these animals is utterly unique."

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A team of DILRA scientists is already hard at work seeking to isolate the gene, or genes, responsible for this so-called "Webkinz effect." "The implications for bio-engineering are staggering," said Kitt, who then staggered, but caught himself before he fell. "Just imagine a guard dog that never needs to sleep, a cat that doesn't need a litter box. And that's just the tip of the iceberg."

Bio-ethicists expressed concern that the iceberg to which Kitt referred would inevitably involve the splicing of the Webkinz gene into human beings. "Frankly, that's the most obvious application, the most seductive," said Dr. Carol Nayer, professor of bio-ethics at Northwestern. "It's clear that these DILRA folks want to implant the Webkinz gene into themselves so that they can sit in front of their computers indefinitely, eating donuts and playing Bejeweled 2 for months at a time, and be no worse off for it. It's really disgraceful what they're trying to do here."

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