Scientists at the South China Agricultural University announced last week that they had successfully engineered 10 piglets that could glow green under black light. By using a technique pioneered by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine, the researchers were able to isolate a fluorescent protein in jellyfish DNA and inject it into pig embryos.
Glowing animals lay the groundwork for future medicine
According to researchers, the technique is being developed to help create medicines and therapies for patients in a more cost-effective manner. Eventually, genetically engineered animals might be used to produce beneficial enzymes for such maladies as hemophilia. "[W]e can make those enzymes a lot cheaper in animals rather than a factory that will cost millions of dollars to build," said Dr. Stefan Moisyadi of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Biogenesis Research in a statement. Fortunately, the piglets involved can still expect to live full lives.
This is far from the first time glow-in-the-dark animals have been created. Turkish researchers were able to raise fluorescent rabbits with the University of Hawaii's technique earlier this year. Meanwhile, researchers at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) have created glowing cloned wildcats as a means of hopefully saving the endangered species.