What's Up With That, Doc? Researchers Make Bunnies Glow | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

What's Up With That, Doc? Researchers Make Bunnies Glow

Like cats and other animals before them, a couple of rabbits are now among the animals that have been genetically manipulated so that they glow green under a black light.

Using a technique developed by University of Hawaii medical researchers, scientists in Turkey added a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA to a mother rabbit's embryo. Of the eight-bunny litter she produced last week, two have the "glowing gene," the University of Hawaii reports.

As we've explained before, researchers don't do this sort of thing just to produce spooky-looking creatures. "Engineering animals to glow — cats, dogs, fish, sheep, pigs, and monkeys have all been made to do so — has been less an artistic endeavor, and more a burgeoning frontier in genetic research," says The Christian Science Monitor. "Scientists say that the glow is tangible evidence that one animal can be made to accept and use the genes of another. And that, they say, is a sign that it might be possible to use similar advanced techniques to treat genetic diseases."

This work is unlike that of a previous successful "glowing" of a rabbit. CNet News notes that:

"Artist Eduardo Kac used the jellyfish-genetics method to create Alba, a glowing rabbit, back in 2000. However, his was an artistic endeavor rather than a scientific one, as this current batch of buns is.

"The [Turkish and Hawaiian] researchers hope to eventually collect beneficial gene products in protein form through the milk of genetically modified female rabbits in an effort to create an efficient method for medicine production."

Critics have said this kind of medical research should give way to "modern, non-animal alternatives." National Geographic has looked at the history of "beast shining for science," here.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Stephen Hawking Says Zayn Malik Could Still Be In One Direction In A Parallel Universe

Millions of hearts were broken last month when Zayn Malik left One Direction, but according to physicist Stephen Hawking, that might not be the case after all.
NPR

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Bartender Ran Duan will represent the U.S. in a Bacardi international cocktail competition. His specialty? "Father's Advice," a stirred-not-shaken cocktail that's a testament to his hardworking dad.
WAMU 88.5

Warren Weinstein's Death Has Local Lawmakers Debating Drone Policies

Lawmakers in the D.C. region are mourning the loss of Maryland native Warren Weinstein, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. The killing has lawmakers debating drone policies once again.
NPR

How Tech Firms Are Helping People In The Nepal Earthquake Zone

Tech and telecom companies stepped up with much needed services. Facebook and Google offered tools to help those in the region let family and friends know they're OK. Other firms cut calling costs.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.