(screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
Scientists at the South China Agricultural University have genetically engineered pigs to glow green when under black light.
Over the course of last year, scientists at the South China Agricultural University in Guangdong successfully engineered the births of 10 glowing piglets. The embryonic pigs had been injected with plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein extracted from jellyfish DNA, a process known as transgenesis, or the transferral of genetic material from one organism to another. The particular technique used, developed at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine, has quadrupled the success rate of transgenesis.
The successfully genetically modified pigs glow green under black light, as seen in the video below.
The glow serves no practical purpose except to demonstrate that the transgenesis was successful. "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 the University of Hawai'i's Sr Stefan Moisyadi.
The aim is to create a process whereby beneficial genetic material can be introduced into the bodies of people with health problems. Dr Moisyadi said, "[For] patients who suffer from haemophilia and they 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."
The same technique was also used last year to create glowing rabbits in Turkey.