Scientists Produce Glow-in-the-Dark Cats

When scientists insert rhesus macaque genes plus jellyfish genes into unfertilized cat eggs, the cats that result post-fertilization are resistant to feline immunodeficiency virus, which causes feline AIDS. They also glow fluorescent green under "special" lights. What if you do this to human eggs?

I don't really know, so let's just stick to talking about cat eggs. So yeah: Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have been creating glow-in-the-dark, FIV-resistant cats as part of their research on HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Through gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis, the official term for "messing with genes and cat eggs," the scientists don't actually cure the cats of FIV but gain a better understanding of what factors might thwart gene therapies. The glow effect helps scientists to track the activity of the cats' modified genes and cells.

As Mayo researcher Dr. Eric Poeschla told LiveScience, "We want to see if we can protect the domestic cat against its AIDS virus, if we can protect any species, eventually including ours, against its own AIDS virus." His group hopes their research can protect both humans and cats from their respective -IVs. Seems like the glow-in-the-dark aspect could also benefit both species by enabling humans to see their pet cats late at night en route to the bathroom, thereby preventing tripping accidents and cat-smotherings.

And yes, the glow-cats have names: TgCat1, TgCat2, and TgCat3.

[Mayo Clinic, LiveScience. Image via UK Guardian]