Ankara 16th August 2013 : A team of scientists have created rabbits that glow in the dark at the University of Istanbul, Turkey as part of an effort to improve treatments for life-threatening illnesses.
Researchers injected jellyfish DNA into a mother rabbit’s embryos to produce the glowing effect.The jellyfish gene codes for a protein which emits light when exposed to ultraviolet light.Embryos were then inserted back into the mother. Similar experiments have resulted in glowing dogs, cats, pigs and mice.
The experiment allows scientists to know that genetic material successfully transferred into a new organism. Scientists added the fluorescent gene along with the FIV-resistance gene when Mayo Clinic researchers genetically engineered cats to carry a protein that defends the animals from infection by the FIV,feline immunodeficiency virus, the cat version of HIV. They knew that any cat that fluoresced also carried protein protection against FIV, a trait that would otherwise be invisible.
The rabbits are expected to have the same life span as their non-glowing counterparts and those rabbits could eventually produce proteins as well. Re-engineered rabbits could manufacture molecules that biologists would then collect from female fluorescent rabbits’ milk.
The rabbits were born at the University of Istanbul as part of a collaboration between scientists from universities in Turkey and Hawaiʻi – Mānoa geneticists, Ryuzo Yanagimachi and Stefan Moisyadi.