Glow Cats!

Entertainment Editor
09.13.11 2 Comments

Eric Poeschla and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have developed a gene therapy based immunization for feline AIDS which can also further our understanding of fighting HIV in humans. It just so happens that these genetically-modified, FIV-resistant cats also glow green under certain lighting conditions. The glowing doesn’t directly have anything to do with immunity; they just did that ’cause ZOMG GLOWING CAT. Shine, my pretties!

Well, okay, there was a reason for the glowing beyond just the cuteness. They were studying a macaque gene believed to confer immunity to FIV, so they inserted the gene along with a jellyfish gene which produces green fluorescent protein (GFP) into cat eggs. If the cats born from the eggs glow green under the correct lighting, the macaque gene almost certainly transferred also. Three cats survived out of eleven embryos, meaning this method also has a higher success rate than the other gene therapy method for cats:

That overall 23% success rate is surprisingly large, since the only other proven way to make transgenic cats, adding new genes to a nucleus from a non-egg cell and then swapping it into an egg, has a success rate of only 3%. [Discoblog]

But let’s not lose sight of what truly matters: glowing kittens.

[SOURCES: Discoblog, Guardian, Mayo Clinic]

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