This Little Piggie Is Green

This Little Piggie Is Green

Grose, Thomas K

GENETICS

THINK PIG, think pink. Right? Perhaps not for long. Genetic engineers at the National Taiwan University (NTU) have created three little pigs that glow green in the dark if a bine light is shone on them. To be sure, other scientists have created partly fluorescent pigs before. But the NTU researchers say theirs are the first to glow entirely green. They’re transgenic critters: The effect was achieved by adding jellyfish DNA to pig embryos. Beyond their coloring, however, they are no different from other pigs. The effort to create green pigs is no mere novelty, however. Stem cells from fluorescent pigs injected into other animals -including humans-are easily traced. And that could do away with the need for biopsies or other invasive diagnostic techniques. It’s not easy being green, according to Kerniit the frog; and it’s not easy getting green, either. It took the geneticists many attempts to create their pigs. So they’re going to mate them with ordinary pigs and hope the resulting offspring will also glow green. Then they’ll have greater numbers of glowing pigs to work with. Anyone for green bacon? Oidn’t think so. -THOMAS K. GROSE

Copyright American Society for Engineering Education Apr 2006

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