Using an active transgenesis technique founded by medical researchers at the University of Hawai`i Manoa, scientists in Turkey have produced glowing green rabbits.
The transgenic rabbits were born last week in Istanbul. In normal lighting, they look just like their white rabbit siblings. But when exposed to black light, the pair of transgenic bunnies glow a vivid shade of green.
The glowing effect is the result of a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA, which was injected into the mother rabbit’s embryo in the lab. The altered embryos were re-inserted into the mother rabbit, and when the litter of eight was born, two of the rabbits carried the “glowing gene.”
The point of the experiment was to show that genetic manipulation with the University of Hawai’i’s technique works in rabbits. The overall goal is to introduce a beneficial gene into female rabbits, then to collect this beneficial gene product in its protein form in the milk the female rabbits produce. This approach could lead to new and competitively efficient ways to produce medicines.
The Turkish success was a collaboration between two universities in Turkey and the Institute for Biogenesis Research at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at UH Manoa. To learn more, see jabsom.hawaii.edu