Glow-in-the-dark pigs all for science

03:02, Dec 28 2013

Chinese scientists have unveiled a litter of glow-in-the-dark piglets.

The team from South China Agricultural University were able to create 10 pigs that turn green under black fluorescent lights, thanks to a technique developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine.

The method sees animal embryos injected with DNA from a jellyfish and was used to create the world's first glow-in-the-dark rabbits in Turkey earlier this year.

The Turkish team was now working on a glowing sheep.

But all the fluorescent fauna isn't just for fun. The goal is to  introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create less costly and more efficient medicines.

The green colour indicates that the fluorescent genetic material injected into the pig embryos has been incorporated into the animal's natural make-up. 

"It's just a marker to show that we can take a gene that was not originally present in the animal and now exists in it," Dr Stefan Moisyadi, from the University of Hawaii, explained.

The animals were not affected by the fluorescent protein and would have the same life span as other pigs, he said.

"The green is only a marker to show that it's working easily," he said

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