December 27, 2013
First Glow In The Dark Piglets Created Using Jellyfish Genes
[ Watch the Video: Glow In The Dark Piglets ]
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Reproductive scientists in China have created pigs that glow in the dark, according a study that has been submitted for publishing in the Biology of Reproduction Journal.
Ten transgenic piglets were born earlier this year that glow green under a black light or UVA light. The pigs represent a technique a team from Guangdong Province in Southern China developed that could help develop cheaper drugs for humans.
A video posted by the researchers on Vimeo shows piglets being held in a bucket, but when the light is turned off and a black light is turned on, a green fluorescent glow can be seen around the animals. Essentially the technique shows how jellyfish DNA was successfully transplanted into pig DNA. The technique was used to quadruple the success rate at which plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA were transferred into the embryo of the pig.
The green color seen in the video indicates the fluorescent material injected into the pig embryos has been incorporated into the animal’s DNA successfully. The technique involves proprietary pmgenie-3 plasmids conferring active integration during cytoplasmic injection. It was used to help produce the world’s first glowing rabbits in Turkey earlier this year.
“It’s just a marker to show that we can take a gene that was not originally present in the animal and now exists in it,” said Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a veteran bioscientist at the University of Hawaii’s medical school’s Institute for Biogenesis Research.
He said the animals are not affected by the fluorescent protein and will have the same life span as those pigs not injected with the material from birth. The green is only a marker to show that the material is working.
"[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," explained Dr. Moisyadi.
The glow-in-the-dark rabbits developed earlier this year proved scientists were able to successfully incorporate foreign DNA into another animal’s body. The science gives hopes for researchers who wish to do the same thing to humans, potentially leading to DNA transplants for people suffering from genetic diseases. The researchers from the pig study said they hope to eventually introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create cheaper, more efficient medicines.