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Aug 12, 2013 at 06:43pm IST

Scientists create glow-in-the-dark rabbits using transgenesis technique

Scientists have produced a litter of ordinary-looking rabbits but with a twist they glow green in the dark. Researchers believe the technique used to create glowing rabbits may lead to cheaper medicine for many diseases. The herd of rabbits was born two weeks ago in Istanbul, Turkey using an active Tran genesis technique founded by medical researchers at the University of Hawaii.

In normal lighting, the creatures look just like their furry, white rabbit siblings. But when exposed to black light, the pair of transgenic bunnies shines a vivid shade of green.

The glowing effect is the result of a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA, which was injected into the mother rabbit's embryo in the lab. The altered embryos were re-inserted into the mother rabbit, and when the litter of eight was born, two of the rabbits carried the 'glowing gene.'

Scientists create glow-in-the-dark rabbits using transgenesis technique

Scientists create glow-in-the-dark rabbits using transgenesis technique

The point of the experiment was to show that genetic manipulation with the new technique works efficiently in rabbits. The overall goal is to introduce a beneficial gene into female rabbits, then to collect the protein made in the milk produced by the female rabbits. This approach could lead to new and competitively efficient ways to produce medicines, according to a University of Hawaii statement.

"These rabbits are like a light bulb glowing, like an LED light all over their body. And on top of it, their fur is beginning to grow and the greenness is shining right through their fur. It's so intense," informed biogenesis researcher Dr Stefan Moisyadi.

The Turkey-Hawaii team is also working on producing transgenic sheep. Three months from now, in November, the birth of Turkey's first transgenic lamb is expected, researchers said.

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