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This is a-mewsing.

(Photo Credit: Gyeongsang National University)

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When Genetic Savings and Clone shut their doors it looked like wishful cat owners were going to be out of luck and short of kittens.


Never fear, the South Korean scientists at Gyeongsang National University have come to the rescue. I couldn’t find all the details in the news articles but it appears that they inserted a gene for red fluorescent protein into a somatic cell from a cat, transplanted the cell into an egg cell, put the egg into a female cat’s womb and a few weeks later, voila!, lovely white Angora cats that glow in the presence of a black light.

The only question now is how long will be before you can buy a glowing cat to match your fish?

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    December 12, 2007

    I am waiting for the LOLcats version…

  2. #2 Anon
    December 12, 2007

    IM IN UR GLO-LITE

    SHIFTEN UR SPEKTRA

  3. #3 Dave Briggs
    December 13, 2007

    LOL! Well, it had to happen sooner or later. I read a blog where they said they thought a human had been or soon would be cloned. What is number 2 on everybody’s list? Why a glowing cat of course! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  4. #4 randy
    December 13, 2007

    the ministry said in a statement.

    “The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans,”

    BS detector just went through the roof. and we wonder why public has unreasonable expectations of science, technology and what it can do (and how fast)

  5. #5 Colin M
    December 13, 2007
  6. #6 Sandra Porter
    December 13, 2007

    That’s great Colin! It just makes me glow!

  7. #7 Nebularry
    December 13, 2007

    As amusing as this is, sadly, it is merely ammunition for the Rage Boys at the Discovery Institute. This sort of stuff makes genetic research look like the mad science movies of the years gone by. Is it any wonder scientists are tagged with the Rodney Dangerfield label – can’t get no respect.

  8. #8 Sandra Porter
    December 13, 2007

    Oh Nebularry, I don’t think we’re likely to make turn people turn to creationism by showing them that science is fun.

    And, speaking of fun, yes, there is another glowing LOL cat besides the picture that Colin posted..

  9. #9 apy
    December 13, 2007

    Is there any downside to this in terms of quality of life for the cats?

  10. #10 Sandra Porter
    December 13, 2007

    Off-hand, I’d be surprised if this protein had any effect on the cat’s quality of life, but I don’t really know for certain.

    I do know that GFP is made, naturally, by many marine animals like jellyfish and coral. GFP has been used in many animal studies without apparent harm to the animals, so far as I know. The animals have included mice, rabbits, and fish.

    If anything, I would guess that the cats biggest complaint about GFP would be the discomfort of having strange people shining ultraviolet lights on them to make them glow.

  11. #11 Zee
    December 13, 2007

    Hmm. Glow in the dark kittehs. May be utile to prevent night-time feline road-pizzas. Too bad they glow only in blacklight.

    I am NOT a scientist. I am a dreaded Liberal Arts major. I hope I am not infringing or diluting the critical sciency stuff on yer web page.

  12. #12 Sandra Porter
    December 13, 2007

    Hey Zee,

    Liberal Arts majors are no problem and hardly dreaded. Don’t worry about diluting critical sciency stuff, science is life and life is science.

    I was disappointed in the blacklight requirement, too. I’m always tripping on cats when I walk around in the dark.

  13. #13 Fernando Magyar
    December 13, 2007

    Can someone do this with a Chihuahua?

  14. #14 Tonsure Wimple
    December 14, 2007

    Implanted in mammals, these genes express most strongly in the genitals. Green junk, sounds like something from Burroughs.

  15. #15 Martijn ter Haar
    December 15, 2007

    “IM IN UR GLO-LITE

    SHIFTEN UR SPEKTRA”

    And what a huge shift it is. What kind of fluorescent protein can be excited with UV to fluoresce in the red?

  16. #16 Sandra Porter
    December 15, 2007

    Martijn: the protein is a mutant version of green fluorescent protein. Researchers have made many different versions of this protein that fluoresce in lots of different colors.

  17. #17 Martijn ter Haar
    December 15, 2007

    Yes, I know, I work a lot with fluorescent proteins, that’s why I found it strange. Usually we excite RFPs with 548 nm (check table 1 on this page). As you can see the spectral shift of all these proteins is in the 20-30 nm range. 548 nm is several hunderd nanometres away from UV. The fact that the normal white cats light up green strengthens my believe that the cats are not under a UV-lamp, but under a green one with emission around 548 nm.

  18. #18 scott
    December 15, 2007

    Blacklight kitty. Seems more of a ’60s fad–lava lights and the like. ‘course they’ve come back as well. What’s old is new!

  19. #19 HP
    December 15, 2007

    Can rodents and small birds see into the ultraviolet? If so, I would imagine that a fluorescent cat would be at a disadvantage as a mouser.

    Also, they’re liable to attract bees.

  20. #20 Dangerous Dan
    December 16, 2007

    HP misses the physics. The engineered cat absorbs UV: emits visible light. Presumably, this leaves the cat even darker in UV than it otherwise would be, so it has no extra problem with bees. Mice and birds definitely do see in the visible (to us) portion of the spectrum, but unless the cat is particularly bright, this will have little effect on its hunting.

  21. #21 Fluffy
    December 23, 2007

    We cats would prefer fearless, glow-in-the dark mousies, please.

  22. #22 Emoticon Facebook|Emoticons Facebook
    August 15, 2011

    I am amazed to see that this is actually possible, and guess how wonderful they will look in the dark. Can be quite spooky if a lot of them are walking together in a grave yard at night time.