I don't want to sound alarmist, but glow-in-the-dark animals are real-- and it's not just cute kitty-cats. As reported earlier here at Science 2.0, scientists did this and that to genetics to make AIDS-resistant cats. Part of the process includes splicing in jellyfish DNA so the cats glow in the dark.
Yes, not 'they glow because of the medical reason', they glow for the fun of it. They glow because the scientists wanted to track the progress of the other stuff, the real medical stuff they were doing.
It turns out jellyfish DNA for glow-in-the-dark is like the corn syrup of the gene-splicing world. It's not just cats, it's in everything.
It's called GFP, for Green Fluorescent Protein. We've got glowing mice, glowing rabbits, even glowing pigs.
Did I mention the glowing pig research was done with an eye towards organ harvesting for humans? It's a great plan. Not only do you have a glowing, cute pet that is
easy to spot in the dark, but you can use it if you need a spare kidney.
Eleven years ago, they even made glowing E. coli, perhaps handy if you're curious if your meat is tainted.
Fluorescent fish aren't terribly new, but genetically manipulated GloFish uses GFP.
Oh, and glowing monkeys. As in, primates. Similar to use. But they'd never use this for humans, right?
And the obvious use of GFP for humans is to create glow in the dark tattoos.
The ones that exist now using cancer-causing illegal chemicals. But
imagine if you could just genetically engineer yourself to glow as you
want? Want your cancer to glow in the dark, so a doctor can more easily remove it? Chemically induced florescence via fluorescein or a similar chemical can do it. So yes, we can glow too.
One might think I'm expressing outrage, but I think this is way cooler than making genetically 'superior' tasteless tomatos and other GMO foods. I look forward to the day when the phrase "she's so radiant" is no longer figurative.
Until next week,
Tuesdays at The Satellite Diaries and Friday at The Daytime Astronomer (twitter @skyday)
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