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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