Just in time for Christmas, a team of scientists in China were able to create ten little piglets that glow green under black fluorescent lights, thanks to a technique developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine.
A group of scientists from South China Agricultural University were able to do this by injecting fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA into pig embryos, thus creating the green-glowing pigs.
This same technique was used to create the world’s first glow-in-the-dark bunnies in Turkey earlier this year, where they are currently working to produce similar results with fluorescent-glowing sheep.
Scientists, however, are not creating glowing farm animals for seasonal décor. The goal of the research is to have an efficient and cheap way of getting a beneficial gene into humans that could help treat many genetic disorders.
Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a UH Manoa bioscientist with the Institute for Biological Research, says, for example, that this technique could benefit people who suffer with the rare blood-clotting disease hemophilia. “We can make [blood-clotting] enzymes a lot cheaper in animals rather than a factory that will cost millions of dollars to build,” Moisyadi said in a press release.
According to Moisyadi, the now-green piglets have not been affected by the fluorescent protein and are expected to have the same life span as other pigs. “The green is only a marker to show that it’s working easily,” he said.
In the video below, the scientists in southern China show off their result by turning off the lights and shining a black light over the piglets. They are placed in a container to limit their movement.