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Kitty goes green

green genes.jpgPosted on behalf of Ashley Yeager

Meet Mr Green Genes, the latest addition to the glowing animal menagerie.

Mr Green Genes is the first fluorescent cat created in the United States. Under normal circumstances the feline appears orange, but under UV light, his eyes, gums and tongue glow lime green—the outcome of a genetic experiment done at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.

Researchers made Mr Green Genes glow green so they could learn whether they could make a transgenic cat, Betsy Dresser, the center’s director, told Newhouse News Service. The gene, inserted into to the cloned kitty’s DNA earlier this year, has no consequence for the feline’s health.

In fact, this green gene and its discovery grabbed the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for three lucky scientists earlier this month. (Listen to an interview with one of the winners, Martin Chalfie here).

“We wanted to know for sure that we could insert this gene into a cell and have it multiply,” Dresser told the MSNBC TODAY show’s Amy Robach. No glow, means a no go for the genes. But, because Mr Green Genes glows, the scientists know they nailed the insertion technique, a success that brings them one step closer to being able to insert healthy genes into humans and take the diseased ones out, Dresser noted.

And while the cat’s legacy may transform the medical world in a few years, Mr Green Genes could also leave his mark among his fellow felines in the coming months. “We’ll breed him and we’ll see if his kids glow, too,” Dresser said.

For more amazing green glowing critters, including glowing green mice, take a look here.

Image: by Anahid Pahhlawanian

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