Researchers have done something so astounding that it will make your heart jump a beat--they have genetically engineered a glow-in-the-dark dog. The transgenic dog was created in South Korea at Seoul National University which boasts one of the world's only strictly genetic engineering curricula. The research is more than a Halloween trick and could lead to medical breakthroughs in curing a variety of illnesses.
Decades ago, the first glowing transgenic plants were genetically engineered, and they sent shivers down the spines of traditionalists. Transgenic species--animals or plants that contain genetic material which does not naturally belong to them--have the potential capability of mixing two or species to create something better--or better in the eyes of the scientist, at least. Now, the glow-in-the-dark gene splicing is well beyond just plants, and the same science could eventually be used to cure diseases.
The researchers at Seoul used a similar method that brought about Dolly the sheep, to make Tegon, the green-glowing dog. By adding eGFP (enhanced green flourescent protein) to the nucleus of a cell and placing it inside of an egg (and some other more advanced 'stuff') the researchers were able to clone a normal dog, and make a glowing dog. Two years ago the same lab did something similar and produced Ruby Puppy, or Ruppy, a red-fluorescent-glowing dog. Tegon's fluorescence can be turned on and off like clockwork by feedinging it dog food containing a drug called doxycycline, which regulates the eGFP.
The scientists believe that they can insert genes into dogs that cause human illnesses and then turn these illnesses on and off to study them. While the practice raises ethical issues, these scientists have only one thing on their minds, and that's curing the humans of illness.
Make sure to check out Genesis, the Journal of Genetics and Development, to get the full scoop!
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