Glow in the dark cats can help AIDS study

  1. Jack Lorren profile image62
    Jack Lorrenposted 5 years ago
    This could be the next step on discovering the cure for aids and other sickness, not just for animals but also for humans. Researcher produced a glowing cats by using a virus to carry a gene, called green fluorescent protein (GFP), into the eggs from which the animals eventually grew. GFP is originally found in jellyfish, which makes the cat glow green under ultraviolet light.

    And this GFP isn't the only extra-species gene this cat is carrying, it's also carries a gene called TRIMCyp, which is originally found in monkeys.
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  2. QuestionMaster profile image88
    QuestionMasterposted 5 years ago

    Still not understanding the leap from glow in the dark cats to low immune systems.

  3. EmpressFelicity profile image84
    EmpressFelicityposted 5 years ago

    As far as I can make out, the scientists put two genes into the cats - one was the fluorescent one (which came from a jellyfish) and the other gene was a rhesus monkey gene that conferred resistance to AIDS. The fluorescent gene had nothing to do with curing AIDS - it just made it easier to study the cats' cells! Oh, and the fact that it was very media-worthy probably didn't hurt.

    I had to really dig to find that information* - brought it home to me how crap a lot of popular science writing is :rant:

    *"To create the kittens, Poeschla and his colleagues used a rhesus monkey gene that confers resistance to feline AIDS and a gene that allows certain jellyfish to emit an eerie green glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. Both genes were inserted into egg cells obtained from female cats that were being spayed. The eggs were fertilized and then transferred to a surrogate mother cat, similar to the way in vitro fertilization is done in humans using donor eggs.

    Both the monkey gene and the jellyfish gene were ferried into egg cells using a virus that does not cause disease. Because the genes were engineered to be expressed together, the scientists could more easily see and study any cell in the resulting kittens in which the FIV-blocking gene was active — those cells would glow. "The genes are encoded within the same gene transfer vector," says Poeschla. "When it integrates [into the cell], they are together in same little piece of DNA."

    Three kittens, two males and one female, were born. "The kittens are completely normal — frisky, happy, healthy and interactive," says Poeschla, adding that they seem completely unfazed by their ability to glow.

    The research isn't the first to produce a glow-in-the-dark kitty, but it is the first to successfully demonstrate that viruses can be used to insert FIV-blocking genes into the eggs of carnivores. In this case, the researchers worked with a monkey gene that encodes a virus-fighting protein called TRIMcyp."

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