Scientists Use Jellyfish DNA to Engineer a Glow-in-the-Dark Pig

Scientists Use Jellyfish DNA to Engineer a Glow-in-the-Dark Pig

A team of Chinese scientists has successfully created a small herd of glow-in-the-dark piglets.

Last week, while you were stuffing your face with Christmas candy, a group of scientists from the South China Agricultural University made the oddest of holiday announcements: they have successfully created a glow-in-the-dark pig.

So far, ten piglets have been given the glow-in-the-dark treatment, which involves injecting a fluorescent protein into the pig embryos. Once the embryos have matured into full-fledged piglets, they will glow green under a black light.

The glowing proteins are derived from a strand of jellyfish DNA, a technique that was developed by the University of Hawaii at Manua School of Medicine. Similar methods have already been used to create fluorescent rabbits in turkey, and to save a species of endangered wildcats in New Orleans.

Creating a brood of glowing animals may sound a little strange, but these researchers actually do have an end game. Eventually, this kind of genetic engineering will be used to manufacture more efficient medicines. "[For] patients who suffer from hemophilia and they need the blood-clotting enzymes in their blood," explains Dr. Moisyadi, an associate professor at the Institute for Biogenesis Research, "we can make those enzymes a lot cheaper in animals rather than a factory that will cost millions of dollars to build."

Thankfully, the piglets are expected to live long and happy lives--unless someone has a hankerin' for some glow-in-the-dark bacon.

Source: University of Hawaii at Manua, The Verge

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For whatever reason I read the title as "Scientists Use Jellyfish DNA to Engineer a Glow-in-the-Dark Plug" and was like "whut?"

11th word should be "herd" not "heard."

Though thanks to this article I have now heard of them. :P

Good, i have always wanted to have a fry up in the middle of the night and thought "drat it all, i can't see my bacon in the dark, and turning the lights on would make far too much sense"

Now my dream of having midnight fry-ups in the pitch-black with glow in the dark bacon and sausages is complete.

ALL BOW BEFORE ALMIGHTY SCIENCE

Kreiger! I thought I told to stop Experimenting on Piggly^n.

Seriously, as an Archer fan it tickles (and terrifies) me that there are real life Kreigers out there.

Oh and for the uninitiated:

Josh Engen:
Thankfully, the piglets are expected to live long and happy lives--unless someone has a hankerin' for some glow-in-the-dark bacon.

Why not?

Being 'Merica I expect glow in the dark bacon as soon as China can mass-produce it.

thetoddo:
11th word should be "herd" not "heard."

Though thanks to this article I have now heard of them. :P

Ha. You're the best.

Why make glow in the dark pork?

BECAUSE WE CAN FOOL!!!

So, will victims of hemophilia also start glowing in the dark ?

Meh, they don't really glow all that much.

Inject them with more SCIENCE!

I heard they did stuff like this back in 2008.
Also, scientists usually use genes for fluorescent proteins to see if another particular gene they wanted to splice in took, which it did with these 10 piglets. Good for them.

All they need to do now is make it glow blue, inject it into a human and we have that Manhattan guy from Watchmen ready to go :)
I don't really see were this is going, did they do this just to prove you can change the appearance of something before birth or is there some cell-level research in this?
Or you know, just for fun?

I do not like green eggs and ham. I will not eat them, Sam I Am.
I will not eat them as they glow. I will not eat their stubby toe.
I would not, could not, in the dark. Nor will I do so in the park.
I will not eat this, Sam I Am. I think I'll have a can of Spam.

now to find a way to hang piglets on a christmass tree....

I love whacky science news like this. I could imagine glow-in-the-dark piggies becoming popular pets in families with young children.
image

Great. Science fills the need for a pig you can spot if you accidentally lose it at a rave.

Not the sort of headline for inspiring confidence that bioengineering folk are painstakingly serious people.

Guffe:

I don't really see were this is going, did they do this just to prove you can change the appearance of something before birth or is there some cell-level research in this?
Or you know, just for fun?

I will answer that with another question.

Does one really need a reason to make glow-in-the-dark pigs? And i ask this seriously.

Azwrath:

Guffe:

I don't really see were this is going, did they do this just to prove you can change the appearance of something before birth or is there some cell-level research in this?
Or you know, just for fun?

I will answer that with another question.

Does one really need a reason to make glow-in-the-dark pigs? And i ask this seriously.

Well it depends on how you look at it. I think the point of the experiment was to see if they could splice a gene into an embryo and then have it develop into a healthy animal. Glow pigs are a proof of concept. The article mentions the long term goal is to make enzymes for medical use. So making the glow in the dark pigs lets them know they have the correct vector for inserting genes into the animals genome. It's a very delicate process to interfere with the DNA of an animal while its an embryo. if it's not done properly you run the risk of causing errors in DNA replication, you're going to run into problems if you're vector is inserting your gene in the wrong place or between something critical.

Ultimately the knowledge gained from these types of experiments could one day lead to us being able to insert genes into human embryos. We could cure genetic diseases with that knowledge, things like cystic fibrosis or type I diabetes would be history.

Guffe:
All they need to do now is make it glow blue, inject it into a human and we have that Manhattan guy from Watchmen ready to go :)
I don't really see were this is going, did they do this just to prove you can change the appearance of something before birth or is there some cell-level research in this?
Or you know, just for fun?

They already mutated the protein to made it glow blue. Though I dont think there are many mothers-to-be will let you change their zygote for a blue glowing child.
Usually in experiments like this the GFP (green fluorescent protein) gene is combined with another gene to visually keep track of the second genes proteins in the cell and in the body. I don't think thats the case here though, but these pigs differently are the biggest glowing animals created to date.

God I love GFP.

They've been doing this for years with bacteria, but a fully grown mammal is very impressive.
Put an ineducable promoter in front of that construct and you have your very own on/off switch for your living enzyme factory.

So fluorescent bacon? Nighttime snacking will never be the same again.

It's in accurate to say GFP glows in the dark. It needs to be excited by a light source at the same time it emits. Phosphorescence, where light is released after the exciting light source is removed, is the phenomenon that gives rise to glowing in the dark...

And yes, GFP is used for tracking. We use it to check if an experiment has worked, to monitor cells and to localise proteins within cells (amongst others things).

Huh, this has already been done with Rhesus monkeys in 2008/9

WHAT THE FUCK ARE SCIENTISTS DOING?

But seriously this is pretty cool.

Eh, these "glow in the dark" things is getting old. Yes science, you can create things that glow in the dark so now shut the fuck-up and do something useful. A while back we had a kickstarter for glow in the dark plants (using firefly DNA) which is being sold commercially to the public in the US.

 

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