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Scientists Breed Genetically Modified Glowing Puppies

Beagle puppy Ruby Puppy, or Ruppy for short, is the world’s first transgenic dog. Transgenic means that she has genes from another animal. Ruppy, and four other beagle puppies, were given a florescent gene from a sea anenome which makes her glow red under ultraviolet light.

Ruppy and her sisters are all identical clones of each other.

Kinda cool, kinda freaky and kinda scary all at the same time. And also a little hard to see the point of – why does science need to create a glowing dog?

Byeong-Chun Lee of Seoul National University in South Korea and his team bred the dogs to test if adding a gene from another species works in dogs. It’s been done in insects and plants, mice, sheep and goats, but Ruppy and her sisters are the first transgenic dogs.

Lee says that next they hope to use the same principle to investigate human fertility. They plan to breed dogs lacking an oestrogen hormone receptor, and use them to study hormone-related infertility in women.

They speculate that the procedure could also be used to study other human diseases using the transgenic dogs as models.

Talk about weird science. Some other geneticists have criticized Lee’s laboratory, saying the procedure is too expensive and slow to truly be useful, and that other methods are better for studying fertility. It does sound very complex to me, but then human fertility is also very complex and poorly understood, so perhaps the scientists will be able to shed light on some fertility issues and the glowing puppies will eventually lead to (not glowing) human babies.

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