You Light Up My...Pig?
Scientists in Taiwan have bred three pigs that glow in the dark. They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through. Yup, that's right, even their hearts and internal organs are green. I wonder if their poop is green too.
The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo. DNA from jellyfish was added to about 265 pig embryos which were implanted in eight different pigs. Four of the pigs became pregnant and three male piglets were born three months ago.
The researchers hope the pigs will boost the island's stem cell research, as well as helping with the study of human disease, said Wu Shinn-Chih of the National Taiwan University’s Institute and Department of Animal Science and Technology. The scientists will use the transgenic pigs to study human disease. Because the pig's genetic material is florescent green, it is easy to spot. So if, for example, some of its stem cells are injected into another animal, scientists can track how they develop without the need for a biopsy or invasive test.
In daylight, the pigs have a light green tint to them. Will you eat green eggs and ham? Their skin, eyes, teeth - everything is green. In the dark, shine a blue light on them and they are bright enough to light up any farm. I wonder if the normal pigs are freaked out being around a fellow glow-in-the-dark hog.
Researchers say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from any others. Riiiiight...so other than the fact that these pigs look like Satan's playthings, they are normal.
Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before. But the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better. In fact, breeding florescent animals is not a new concept. In 2002, Taiwan was home to the first transgenic glowing fish. You can buy GloFish in almost every state except California at this time.
These Taiwaneese glow pigs, however, are not for consumers. The scientists say they hope the new, green pigs will mate with ordinary female pigs to create a new generation - much greater numbers of transgenic pigs for use in research.
Could you imagine creating other glow in the dark animals? How about a glow in the dark rabbit? Perfect for magic shows. You could also inject the jellyfish DNA into wild deer populations. Perhaps car accidents involving deer could be greatly reduced if the deer were able to glow in the dark! Hunters could now go hunting at night too...doesn't that sound safe? How about man's best friend? Wouldn't a glow in the dark Daschaund just be SO cute? I'm hoping they can also alter it's DNA to give the dog horns, wings, and maybe a giant lobster claw. Now THAT would be cool!
"Th'-th'-th'-th'-th'-th'-that's All, Folks!"