Glowing Cats in Korea Could Advance Stem Cell Treatments
Tim King Salem-News.com Dec-14-2007 09:37
(SEOUL, South Korea) - Cats that glow in the dark? That's what researchers in an animal cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, in Jinju, South Korea announced this week. As the photos demonstrate, a cat possessing red fluorescence protein, "RFP" glows in the dark when it is exposed to ultraviolet light.
The team, led by animal cloning expert Kong Il-keun, announced Wednesday that they had cloned the two RFP cats for the first time in the world. They say the advancement is significant, though South Korea's bio-engineering industry is still feeling the effects of a much-touted achievement by cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk that turned out to be a fraud.
Hwang is now banned by the Korean government from any research using human eggs, after his claims last year to have created the first human stem cells through cloning were found to be untrue. He's now on trial, facing charges of Fraud and Embezzlement.
The scientists involved in this South Korean program created the glowing cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene. It is a procedure that could eventually lead to treatments for human genetic diseases according to researchers.
They say the glow in the dark aspect is a side effect that happens when the cloned cats are exposed to ultraviolet beams.
So far, Kong Il-keun's team of a cloning experts at Gyeongsang National University have produced three cats that possess altered fluorescence protein genes, the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology reported.
The cats were born in January and February. One was stillborn, but two grew to become adult Turkish Angoras weighing about six and a half pounds. Ministry of Science and Technology officials say "It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned."
They say the new technology can also help in the development of stem cell treatments. Cats share more than 250 kinds of genetic diseases that affect humans.
The technology may also help clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Like a glow worm, only better!!!!