Rabbits born in Turkey have a “glowing” talent.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii in conjunction with a team at the University of Istanbul invented a technique that allows pregnant rabbits to produce a fluorescent litter. Two of the eight bunnies, which were born last week, look like normal white rabbits in ordinary light. But, when exposed to black light the transgenic bunnies glow in a vivid shade of green, according to a 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,” biogenesis researcher Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a lead researcher, told KHON 2.
The bunnies get their glow from a florescent protein found in jellyfish DNA. Scientists injected that same protein into the mother rabbit’s embryo in a lab and two of the brood carries the “glowing gene.”
"We can inject the actual nucleus of the egg and what we did, we made a slightly larger hole that allows us to regulate the amount of DNA that we put in," Dr. Joel Marh, faculty director for the Institute for Biogenesis Research Transgenic, told KITV.
Moisyadi says the florescent bunnies show that the transgenic technique works, and can hopefully be used on larger animals.
“Sheep, cows, and even pigs,” Moisyadi told KHON 2. “The benefits in doing it in large animals is to create bio-reactors that basically produce pharmaceuticals that can be made a lot cheaper.”
The technique has garnered some controversy over the safety of testing it on animals. But Moisyadi assures it’s safe.
“They live just as long as normal animals do. In mice, I can tell you that from mice, and they show no ill effects,” he said. “The green is only a marker to show that’s it’s working easily.”