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Biotech Science

Taiwan Breeds Transgenic, Fluorescent Green Pigs 261

ScentCone writes "Transgenic pigs (and other critters) are valuable research tools because of their utility in studying human diseases. Tracking changes in some developing tissues is going to be easier, say a Taiwanese team that has introduced fluorescent, green proteins into the breeding. Said one of the researchers: 'There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green.' Do you like green eggs and ham?"
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Taiwan Breeds Transgenic, Fluorescent Green Pigs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2006 @02:11PM (#14456131)
    Apple did it with computers, so why not do it with pets. Prior to Apple's colored cases on the iMac and cubes, most PCs were tan. Apple opened up the world of computer cases and now we have clear case PCs. Lets do it with pets!

    Imagine the world where you buy your blue designer short-hair cat and walk it along side your lime green dog. Imagine the special fish that glow, blink, and are fluorescent.

    This could get VERY interesting....

  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @03:32PM (#14457044)
    ...slashdot really is no place for biology research news. 99% percent of these posts are crude (but amusing) humor, indicating a benign carelessness about underlying research topic. The last 1% is truly frightening -- people so afraid of biology research they actually feel it necessary to malign it while lacking any true understanding of what is going on.

    These transgenic animals are nothing new -- transgenics (even the fluorescent kind) have been around for many years, and are a critical tool for elucidating basic mechanisms in biology. Pigs, like mice, worms, yeast, bacteria, etc., are model organisms -- their underlying cell biology is so generic, that understanding it is immensely useful for many pure research and biomedical purposes.

    The researchers involved in this study were not out to make some freak of nature -- they used a very straightforward line of reasoning to make these transgenics. By labelling the entire animal, one can trace any part of the animal when it is transplanted into an unlabelled animal. For example, researchers could study what happens with organ transplant: how do the donor organs interact with the receipient body? Does it integrate well or not? More cutting-edge research could involve tracing individual tissues and cells, such as stem cells and neurons and cardiac cells. Where do the cells migrate? Do they localize properly (i.e. do cardiac cells stay where they should at the heart)? Do stem cells that were introduced for a particular damage (i.e. brain damage) actually migrate to the brain and function where they should?

    As stated in the article, many others have done similar studies with mice, monkeys, etc while labelling specific tissues. These researchers have done it with a pig, and while labelling every cell in the pig. I don't personally believe this is novel from a research standpoint, but I think it is a valuable tool continue research in mammalian biology. I certainly don't think it's something to be feared, hated, and maligned as some here have suggested.

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @03:33PM (#14457053) Homepage

      At what percent of remaing human genes does a creature retain its civil rights?

    I certainly don't claim to be an expert in genetics, but I don't think there is such a thing as a "human gene". It's like saying something is made of "car factory bricks". The researchers aren't at fault here, it's your understanding of animal genetics.
  • Re:Another use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @04:02PM (#14457365) Journal
    It wasn't that great. If we could create something to seek out cancer cells I doubt we would have it tag them green for easy identification in standard course grained surgery. We would just have it execute the damn thing.
  • by cinnamon colbert ( 732724 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @05:16PM (#14458140) Journal
    I think everyone assumed that there were type I or II or III RNApol promoters tht would function in all organisms, so there was no real need to do the exp.

    As to harvesting transgenic organs for transplant into humans, it is not enough to add necessary antigens, you have to remove unwanted antigens as well.

    this is a little more tricky.

    You also have to demonstrate that the tissue does not contain any porcine viruses that can jump to humans; proving a negative is often a little tedious

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