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When pigs fly - or glow in the dark

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Building on the research feats of scientists who have made rabbits and cats glow in the dark, Chinese researchers recently announced a litter of glow-in-the-dark piglets. In a Dec. 30, 2013, article, BuzzFeed's Alison Vingiano recaps an experiment at the South China Agriculture University in the Guangdong Province of Southern China.

The ten piglets from this world-renowned litter sport glowing snouts and hooves as a result of their embryos being injected with a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA. The piglets are healthy and expected to enjoy a lifespan like any other pig.

The technique used in China was originally developed by reproductive scientists at he University of Hawaii, who earlier this year created the world's first glow-in-the-dark rabbits in Turkey. In 2011, scientists at the Mayo Clinic successfully inserted novel genes into cats to produce the same innocuous glowing effect. Fish, rats and insects have also been modified to glow in the dark.

According to a Dec. 30, 2013 article in the Mirror, the ultimate goal of the research is “to introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create cheaper and more efficient medicines.”

A Sept. 12, 2011 article in Scientific American describes the higher merits of the glow-in-the-dark cat project as follows: "The goal is to use genetically modified cats as a better proxy for human diseases. After all, FIV plagues cats in much the same way that HIV plagues people. For that reason, cats can serve as useful animal models for learning more about the human version of the disease. The researchers, or their colleagues, plan to continue manipulating the cat genome to test potential gene therapies for HIV and other potential cures for AIDS."

And if that's not reason enough, what could be better than a glowing pet that you won't trip over in the dark?



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