Pigs That Glow At Night

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark. They claim that while other researchers have reared partly fluorescent porkers, theirs are the only ones in the world which are green throughout.

The amazing swine are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

It's hoped the pigs will boost the island's stem cell studies, as well as helping with the study of human disease. Researchers, from National Taiwan University's Department of Animal Science and Technology, say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from their relatives.

Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before. But the scientists insist the three pigs they have produced are better.

They are the only ones that are green inside out. Even their heart and internal organs are green, they say. To create them, 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.

In daylight the researchers say the pigs' eyes, teeth and trotters look green. Their skin has a greenish tinge. In the dark, shine a blue light on them and they glow torch-light bright. The scientists will use the transgenic pigs to study human disease. Because the pig's genetic material is green, it is easy to spot.

So if, for instance, 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. But creating them has not been easy. Many of the altered embryos failed to develop.

The researchers 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.

Last year, another group of Taiwanese scientists claimed to have discovered an alternative to mice for testing new drugs. They used flourescent fish to demonstrate the effects of new medicine on cancerous tumours.
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2 Responses to "Pigs That Glow At Night"

Phil

Sat, 01/28/2006 - 17:18
And more importantly, this will reduce the number of pig-related accidents, should their be a blackout! And here was me thinking the picture was taken from a "Most Haunted" farmyard special!

mooowah

Tue, 01/31/2006 - 15:53
I wonder how much these would go for on ebay?