Lions, Tigers, and Glow in the Dark Cats, OH MY!
As if glow-in-the-dark rabbits were not enough, now we have glow-in-the-dark cats! Mr. Green Genes, a six month old orange tabby, is the result of a genetic experiment done by the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. The transgenic cat is the first fluorescent cat in the United States.
Much like Alba, the transgenic rabbit, Mr. Green Genes’ DNA was infused with green fluorescent protein (GFP). The GFP makes his eyes, ears, nostrils and gums glow, and the rest of his body would glow too if he were to be shaved. His genetic tinkering was the first step in a process that could lead to the development of ways to combat diseases via gene therapy. A cat was chosen for this because their genetic makeup is similar to that of humans.
Audubon scientists hope to use their technique to develop gene therapy treatment for cystic fibrosis. The GFP will bind to the cystic fibrosis and allow them to learn more about the disease. Mr. Green Genes will also further scientific knowledge on the subject by becoming a stud, that way scientists can learn if the fluorescence gene can be passed on.