If somebody hears “a glowing bunny”, he or she will probably think of a creature from Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic song, “White Rabbit.”
However, things seemed to be changed now as real fluorescent rabbits were recently born at the University of Istanbul, Turkey.
Rabbits now got into the widening list of fluorescent fur-bearers. Today sientists can create glowing dogs, cats, pigs and mice simply by inbuilding a gene from a jellyfish into the mammals’ DNA.
As Fox News explains, the mentioned above gene codes for a protein that emits light when gets into ultraviolet light.
The jellyfish gene is believed to add a significant physical change to a modifient animal. Carrying out numerous experiments with animals’ modifying, scientists have come to the conclusion that genetic material can be successfully transferred into a new organism.
Thus, when a groups of researchers at Mayo Clinic managed to genetically engineer cats to carry a protein that defends the animals from infection by the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV, the cat version of HIV), they added the fluorescent gene along with the FIV-resistance gene.
That way the researchers knew that any cat that carried fluorescent also had protein protection against the dangerous virus, a trait that would otherwise be invisible.
“The fluorescent rabbits could eventually produce proteins as well. Re-engineered rabbits could manufacture molecules that biologists would then collect from female fluorescent rabbits’ milk. Producing medicines and other chemicals using rabbits could be less expensive than fabricating the materials in factories,” Fox News explains.
Meanwhile, the Turkish team revealed to reporters that they intend to try the same eperimet with larger mammals like sheep and cattle.
“Our main plan was to do sheep, but they only have one or two embryos max,” said Stefan Moisyadi, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii Manoa who worked with the Turkish team.
“Right now we have 10 pregnant sheep, and we hope that 25% of the babies glow green – maybe two or three of them.”
Over time, Moisyadi would like to see this process used in livestock to insert genes for proteins used in medications.
“Animals can make valuable proteins in their milk that humans use for medicine, and you can extract the proteins quite easily,” said Moisyadi. “It would make certain pharmaceutical production extremely cost-effective.”
The news comes the same day when American scientists announced that they found a new speies of carnivores.
A group of researhes found a new species of mammal whih was later dubbed “olinguito”. The orange-furred beast is about 14-inches long with an equally long tail and weighs about 2 pounds.
The olinguito, which is also named Bassaricyon neblina, has a pair large eyes and lives in the jungles of Colombia and Ecuador, reports The Telegraph.
According to Kristofer Helgen, a Smithsonian scientist who recognized it as a distinct species 10 years ago, the disoered mammal is the smallest member of the raccoon family.
“The discovery of the olinguito shows us that the world is not yet completely explored, its most basic secrets not yet revealed.”
“If new carnivores can still be found, what other surprises await us? So many of the world’s species are not yet known to science. Documenting them is the first step toward understanding the full richness and diversity of life on Earth,” the head of the study concluded.