Chinese scientists turned science fiction into reality recently with the birth of 10 glow-in-the-dark pigs.
According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists at the South Chinese Agricultural University injected a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA into pig embryos. The result is 10 transgenic pigs with a unique ability to glow under black light.
While the results were a success, not every embryo picked up the gene. Fifteen of the embryos injected with the glowing-protein gene were born without an actual blow.
Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a bioscientist at the University of Hawaii medical school’s Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR, says the animals were not hurt by the fluorescent protein and are expected to have the same life span as other pigs, according to Buzzfeed.
“The green is only a marker to show that it’s working easily,” he said.
Scientists have created glow-in-the-dark pigs before, but the success was varied according to Stefan Moisyadi of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who worked with the Chinese scientists.
"In the past, scientists would throw the DNA in the embryo and hope that it would take, but it was a very hit-or-miss deal, and just 2% of the micro-manipulated eggs were transgenic," Moisyadi told the Los Angeles Times. "But we came in with this active approach, embedding the jellyfish gene in a plasmid that contains an insertion gene, and it is a huge improvement."
Moisyadi believes that eventually genes could be inserted into an animal’s DNA that would use them to create proteins that would be useful in medicines and could be extracted through their milk.
Glowing pigs aren’t the first of animals to get a dose of translucency. According to Scientific American, there have also been reports of glow-in-the-dark rats, insects and cats. A group of glow-in-the-dark rabbits were born just four months ago in Istanbul, Turkey.