Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cloned Glow In The Dark Cats?

Scientists have genetically modified three kittens so they appear fluorescent under ultra-violet light in a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases.

Glow-in-the-dark cat could help cut disease

A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun at Gyeongsang National University, South Korea, cloned the cats after manipulating a gene to change their skin colour.

The fluffy white Turkish Angora cats now glow red when exposed to ultraviolet light and the scientists believe the process could be used to develop treatments for a range of genetic illnesses. The technology can also help clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats.

To clone the cats the team used skin cells of the mother cat and modified its genes to make them fluorescent by using a virus, which was transplanted into the ova. The ova were then implanted into the womb of the donor cat.

The three cats were born in January and February. One was stillborn while two others grew to become adult Turkish Angoras, weighing 3kg and 3.5kg.


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