Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scientists create glow-in-the-dark cats

Add a black light and the cat glows red.

Add a black light and the cat glows red.(Credit: Gyeongsang National University)

This may be the fluffiest, freakiest thing since Alba, the green fluorescent bunny from artist Eduardo Kac.

South Korean scientists tinkering with fluorescence protein genes say they have bred white Turkish Angora cats to glow red under ultraviolet light.

The pair of cats cloned from a mother's altered skin cell are nearly a year old. The researchers told the AFP that their work could help unravel mysteries of some 250 genetic diseases suffered by both humans and cats. The findings also could be used to clone endangered tigers, leopards, and other animals, the report said.

However, it's unlikely that such psychedelic-looking cats would come to pet stores anytime soon. Debates about the ethics and safety of concocting cloned and transgenic animals continue to rage.

Genetic Savings " >GloFish glow, too.

GloFish glow, too.(Credit: GloFish)

California officials in 2004 banned the
sale of GloFish, the world's first transgenic pet.

British scientists injected jellyfish genes into chickens and pigs to make them glow several years ago. Last year, Taiwanese scientists said they also spawned glow-in-the-dark pigs.

The cat experiment took place at Gyeongsang National University with funding from the Korean government.

Perhaps the biggest cloning story to hail from South Korea was the revelation in 2005 that a prominent doctor had faked a breakthrough in cloning humans.

(Via miguel23)

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