Hopping out glowing green bunnies for science

If scientists keep this up, they'll be able to fill a Noah's Ark full of genetically modified glowing animals.

Glowing rabbits
Two out of eight bunny siblings got the glowing gene. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

There's a long history of scientists creating glowing animals, ranging from fish to mice to cats. Now, a team of scientists from the University of Hawaii and two universities in Turkey have genetically engineered some adorable, fuzzy, glowing baby bunnies.

Out of a herd of eight baby bunnies, two glow under blacklight. The glowing is caused by a fluorescent protein culled from jellyfish DNA. This material is injected into the embryos. The round of rabbits produced a 25 percent success rate.

The scientists aren't just growing mammalian nightlights for the heck of it; there is some serious medical research going on. When a bunny glows, it shows that the injected material has become a part of the rabbit.

The born-in-Turkey rabbits have missed out on being the first glowing bunny by quite a ways. Artist Eduardo Kac used the jellyfish-genetics method to create Alba, a glowing rabbit, back in 2000. However, his was an artistic endeavor rather than a scientific one, as this current batch of buns is.

The researchers hope to eventually collect beneficial gene products in protein form through the milk of genetically modified female rabbits in an effort to create an efficient method for medicine production.

Other than glowing under UV light, the little hoppers look like regular rabbits and behave normally. They are expected to have a typical lifespan as living proofs-of-concept.

(Via The Independent)

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