Glow-in-the-dark pigs are part of radiant green menagerie

Ready yourself for the real-life glowing green menagerie.

Ten little piggies that glow in the dark have been created by scientists at the South China Agricultural University. A sheep that glows green under a black light will soon be announced by researchers in Turkey, and that same Turkish team has already created glow-in-the-dark bunnies.

By the light of day these animals all look normal. But turn off the lights and hit them with a black light and parts of their bodies glow fluorescent green.

The glowing mammals were created when scientists inserted a foreign gene into the animals’ DNA. In a process called active transgenesis, the scientists removed embryos from pregnant females and injected each one with a jellyfish gene that creates a glow-in-the-dark protein. Then the embryos were put back in the mother.

Not every embryo picked up the gene. With the pigs for example, 25 embryos were injected with the glowing-protein gene, but just 10 animals were born that actually glow.

This is not the first time that scientists have created glow-in-the-dark pigs, said Stefan Moisyadi of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who worked with Chinese scientists Zhenfang Wu and Zicong Li. But he said their efforts represent the most efficient production of glow-in-the-dark pigs yet.

“In the past, scientists would throw the DNA in the embryo and hope that it would take, but it was a very hit-or-miss deal, and just 2 percent of the micro-manipulated eggs were transgenic,” Moisyadi told the Los Angeles Times. “But we came in with this active approach, embedding the jellyfish gene in a plasmid that contains an insertion gene, and it is a huge improvement.”

The end goal here is not to create trippy animals that look cool under black lights, but rather to show that the active transgenic technique works and can be done efficiently. The green glow is just a marker that the animals have picked up the jellyfish gene.

Eventually, Moisyadi believes genes could be inserted into the animals’ DNA that would cause them to create proteins that would be useful for medicines, and that could be extracted through their milk.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read