Scientists in Guangdong Province, Southern China, have created piglets that glow green under a black-light. The glow is caused by a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA that was transferred into the embryos within the sow, as a marker to show that the transfer of genetic material had been successful.
The process was part of an experiment to test the success rate of moving genetic material between animals. The technique used, developed at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine, has quadrupled the rate at which plasmids (DNA molecules) can be transferred.
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The long-term aim of the research goal is to introduce beneficial genes into larger animals as a means of creating less costly and more efficient medicines.
"[For] patients who suffer from hemophilia and need the blood-clotting enzymes in their blood, we can make those enzymes a lot cheaper in animals rather than a factory that will cost millions of dollars to build," says Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, Associate Professor at the Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR), in a news story on the University of Hawai`i website.
The IBR technique, which reportedly does not impact on the animal's lifespan or quality of life, was used to produce the world’s first "glowing green rabbits" by scientists in Turkey last year. The Turkish scientists are expected to complete similar research using sheep later this year.
View the following video to see a demonstration of the piglets under a black-light.
Source: University of Hawai`i