World’s first green piglets born in China, sheep next

December 30, 2013
glowing_piglets

(Credit: South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou)

In Guangdong Province in Southern China, ten transgenic piglets have been born this year, in  and under a black light, they glow a greenish tint.

A technique developed by reproductive scientists from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine was used to quadruple the success rate at which plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA were transferred into the embryo of the pig.

The green color is a marker that indicates that the fluorescent genetic material injected into the pig embryos has been incorporated into the animal’s natural make-up.

The ultimate goal is to introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create less costly and more efficient medicines.

The IBR technique involves proprietary pmgenie-3 plasmids conferring active integration during cytoplasmic injection. This technique was also used to produce the world’s first “glowing green rabbits” in Turkey earlier this year. Turkey is expected to announce results of similar research involving sheep in the New Year.

In the video below, the pigs — not unlike human children afraid of the dark — begin to squeal when the lights are turned off, except for the black light, which helps illuminate the green tint.  The noise is because the scientists are holding the by-now-large piglets in a container to prevent their movement, to make the florescent glow most visible.

References:

  • Biology of Reproduction, 2013, in press