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Biotech Idle Science

South Korean Scientists Create Glowing Dog 139

cultiv8 writes "A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic. The researchers, who completed a two-year test, said the ability to glow can be turned on or off by adding a drug to the dog's food. 'The creation of Tegon opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,' the news agency quoted lead researcher Lee Byeong-chun as saying. He said the dog was created using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technology that the university team used to make the world's first cloned dog, Snuppy, in 2005."
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South Korean Scientists Create Glowing Dog

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  • Who's (modified for the article) punchline is.

    "Hey, I'm a programmer, I don't have time for a princess, but hey, a glowing dog, now that's cool"

    • [dog barks]
      damn dogs never let me sleep at night (closes window)
      [dog glows]
      damn dogs never let me sleep at night (closes curtains)
    • "Hey, I'm a programmer, I don't have time for a princess, but hey, a glowing dog, now that's cool"

      Glowing dog? Pics or it didn't happen.

      • I thought that at first, but then realized that you're not going to see some glowing poodle wagging its tail -- you're going to see some poor, sick, probably unconscious little creature that's barely alive.
        (I'm not dissing research on animals as a whole, just pointing out that you probably don't want to see a picture of the results)
        • Erm... forget I said that. Go here []. I'm really glad I was wrong.
          • When you are a $3.5 million proof-of-concept, and also an adorable microbeagle, you are probably OK.

            The concept-proven successors working on the "because there are 268 illnesses that humans and dogs have in common, creating dogs that artificially show such symptoms could aid treatment methods for diseases that afflict humans" part of the project are likely to be a bit more pitiable.
          • Of course, the real question is "what does it taste like?"

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I happen to have a journalist acquaintance who wrote a pretty good book [] about dog cloning in Korea. I can tell you you're both right and wrong. You will see the adorable beagle mentioned in the post just below. What you won't see, and (just as you say) won't want to see are the many dogs sacrificed for the project. Although Seoul and other cities are home to pampered pets, dogs are also a livestock commodity in Korea, and if you want to do a bit of research, you won't have any trouble getting all the dogs y

    • It's a dog's light in this man's modern research lab.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      How about a glowing princess? :D

    • by torsmo ( 1301691 )
      Man, I came just came here to see any "Koreans eat dogs in the dark" comments.
  • George Clinton's Atomic Dog []

  • by Anonymous Coward

  • 'The creation of Tegon opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,'

    Now, just substitute "can be" with "will be"...

    • What a waste of science.
      • What is the fascination with making animals glow?

        Make lawn grass that produces THC, or better yet LSD already.

        • Why grass? Wouldn't DEA agents who involuntarily produce illicit compounds metabolically be much more amusing?
        • Re:What fun! (Score:5, Informative)

          by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @07:25AM (#36906122)

          What is the fascination with making animals glow?

          It's a quick and dirty way to test whether the inserted gene is being expressed in all tissues.

          Step two is to attach your desired test gene to the bioluminescent gene. Now you can see where the test gene is being expressed. That removes the doubt from a failure to get the expected result; is it because the experimental treatment doesn't work properly, or because the gene isn't active in the desired tissue? Failure+glow means the treatment failed. Failure+no-glow means a problem with the insertion.

          (IANAB, IANYB.)

          • +5 Insightful

          • Re:What fun! (Score:4, Informative)

            by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @10:07AM (#36907630) Homepage Journal
            IAAB. It's equivalent to using a print statement as a report mechanism during debugging. In fact, this use of GFP is even called a "reporter" gene. There are other reporters commonly used; prior to the discovery of fluorescent proteins, the most popular bacterial reporter was a step in the lactose metabolism pathway that caused the colony to turn blue when it was interrupted by another gene (thus demonstrating not functionality, but that the gene had been inserted correctly into the carrier molecule.)

            Another control mechanism that's often used is antibiotic resistance: if it doesn't die, then the resistance gene is where it should be. This has the added benefit of getting rid of the samples you don't want at the same time. Of course, neither of these are very useful for seeing tissue-specific expression, which is why fluorescent proteins revolutionized molecular biology when they were discovered.
            • >> It's equivalent to using a print statement

              Imagine what will happen when we have a remote kernel debugger?

              • Well, right now we have the ability to take memory dumps and compare them, creating a kind of rudimentary trace log. This shoddy JPEG of a microarray [] displays one column per gene of interest. Brightness reflects gene expression level (red is low, green is high, grey is in between.) Each row is a separate set of conditions, such as progress through a stress response.

                In plant biology, time of day has been used as the y-axis, by taking many different samples at different times. This was done in order to find t

          • Thank you. I change my mind. It's not a waste of science after all.
          • It's an amazingly useful protein for scientific research... Because of its research utility it's become a ubiquitous tool for molecular and cell biology. Indeed, in October of 2008 Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Y. Tsien were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their brilliant contributions to our modern scientific use of GFP [], with The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences calling GFP a "guiding star" and likening its research development to the invention of the microscope.

        • What is the fascination with making animals glow?

          I figure it's a long term plan to make night time less stressful when the zombie apocalypse comes

    • by hesiod ( 111176 )

      That quote seemed suspicious to me. So if they can add something to food to trigger the "glow" gene, that quote means they can also add something to food to trigger the "fatal disease" gene... That's a TERRIBLE idea!!! (Yes, I know the individual would need to have the gene encoded before birth, and it's not just the food additive...)

      • by kiatoa ( 66945 )

        Seems like a great solution for feral dogs and helping breeders get rich. To all your pure-bred (assuming genetically modified is still "pure-bred") dogs, cats whatever add a gene that causes them to die if not fed a special additive to their food.

        No more strays ...

        I'm just kidding of course but whats the bet that the Monsanto equivalent in the pet world does just exactly this?

        • Build in a lysine-deficiency into all the breeding females?

          Better hope your animals aren't as smart as velociraptors... and be damn careful with that frog DNA!!

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Well yes. If you can create lab animals with the same fatal condition you can then test treatments for the condition on them. You then get into that whole animal testing issue. It is one of those areas where people will have different opinions for sure.
      I am in the cost vs benefit camp.
      Animal testing for cosmetics == bad.
      Animal testing to save lives == acceptable.
      Others have different opinions on that.

  • Ok this was a proof-of-concept experiment to make a transgenic dog using Dox-inducible expression. It might be useful for some stuff since dogs are a genetic model for some human diseases but still not THAT cool... What I am REALLY looking forward to is someone doing a homologous replacement of Tbx5 with Tbx4 in chickens (pehaps by using zinc finger nucleases). This would most likely change the development of the wings to front-legs. A four-legged chichken - THAT would be cool. When that proof-of concept e
    • by j-pimp ( 177072 )
      How about 6 winded chickens or 12 legged turkeys for eating?
      • That does not sound very realistic since it would mean that you would have to initiate new limb buds at the appropriate places, and I doubt that those extra limbs would be functional ( Replacing Tbx5 with Tbx4 under the native Tbx5 promoter would however mean that you would have expression at the appropriate place (front limb buds), time and level. A proof-of-concept experiment by overexpression was already done back in 1999 (
  • Not glowing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @06:06AM (#36905794)

    While I don't mean to belittle the work done by these scientists, I want to point out a common mistake used in science journalism - referring to GFP as "glowing". It does not glow, in any sense of the word. It fluoresces, which means you need to shine blue or UV light on it and examine it through a filter that removes the incident light, and then it will appear green. It can appear quite amazing under those conditions, but you can't take this dog out for a walk at night and see it emitting green light. You won't even see it reflecting green light, unless you take him near a UV source.

    There is a biological technique that does cause things to glow [], but it's more complicated than a single protein so is not as commonly used as GFP.

  • Pics of the cute little sucker - both in the dark and in daylight: []
  • Imagine a burglar who comes to your house. A pitbull growling in the dark - that's already pretty scary. A glowing growling pitbull, that's super-scary.

  • I like how they always say "could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's" every time they use genetic engineering to do a nerdy prank. There is need or market demand for glowing dogs, no problem being solved or cost reduced. Sooner or later someone's going to let the DNA loose and nature is going to get hurt.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      I like how they always say "could lead to a cure for Alzheimer's"

      I don't know about a cure. But it sure would be handy for finding grandpa when he wanders off in the dark.

  • The gene that causes the dog to glow under ultraviolet light when a certain food is given to it, can have the gene replaced with one dogs and humans share. This can help test gene therapy to help cure these genetic disorders.

  • The mutation is just reflecting an external UV light. It would be much cooler if it could actually *generate* light. Imagine a dog that could glow like a glow worm.

  • Are they not closer to human physiology ... or is that just BS so nobody feels bad about the god-awful things they do to pigs in the name of science/medecine? But then Korea has a bit of a hate-on for dogs so it makes sense.

  • people who do research on household pets. I consider my dog to be part of my family and when I hear of asshole scientists doing research on what would otherwise be someone's pet it really pisses me off. There is no reason for that or any dog to glow or have any other "modification". This just backs up my observation that most of these people are a$$holes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      people who do research on household pets. I consider my dog to be part of my family and when I hear of asshole scientists doing research on what would otherwise be someone's pet it really pisses me off. There is no reason for that or any dog to glow or have any other "modification". This just backs up my observation that most of these people are a$$holes.

      I understand your sentiment, but bear in mind that every society draws an arbitrary line between the animals we befriend and those we eat. You protect your dog and eat bacon. In korea some dog breeds are befriended while other breeds are food.

    • by SlashV ( 1069110 )
      Thanks for putting my feeling to words. However, I must admit that this feeling is somewhat hypocritical. I mean, just taking pity on an animal because you happen to like it. Pigs for example are equally smart and adorable (although less handsome) as dogs, yet we put them in small cages and butcher them by the millions. This one dog being cloned and maybe not even having a particularly bad life is bliss by comparison.
      • Your point is valid. I just wish that research can get to a point where most of the modelling is done on super computers (cray, big blue etc. I know some of it has already being done but progress can't come too soon. On the other hand I do like the pig for dinner. At one time I considered having one of those pot bellied pigs for a family pet but my wife pretty much vetoed that before I could make a good arguement.
    • by bareman ( 60518 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @08:27AM (#36906604) Homepage Journal

      Meanwhile people whose child or spouse is spared from death by this same research feel quite differently about it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So...are you saying you'd prefer they should stop all animal experimentation, or only those animals that are pets to someone out there? Which is quite a broad range of animals.

      Or perhaps you prefer animals to be natural and not be messed about with humans? Which means that a significant number of dog breeds would be considered monstrous by you.

      Or maybe you just mean genetic experiments? Or drug based? Or do you also consider experiments in changing their diet? Psychological experimentation? Environmental ma

    • by kiatoa ( 66945 )

      I dunno, I've eaten dog before (tends to taste a bit like what it was eating, coconut and scraps, yech). I also had a dog that got hit by a car and the neighbors got to it before we did. Apparently they ate well that night. Shit happens. Things are born, die, sometimes get eaten by other things. That said I could never eat my own dog (extreme starvation situation excepted). Your emotional attachment is just that, an emotional attachment and personally I'm fine with offending your sensibilities if it yields

      • I agree that ALL animals should be treated with compassion and respect. I believe that we humans are the alpha species on this planet and thus bear the responsibility for animals and the environment (theirs and ours). I was just singling out dogs because that was the subject of the article.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday July 28, 2011 @08:15AM (#36906486) Homepage

    Why this news? Dog is born puppy, then you feed it and it glowing. Keep feed it and it keep glowing until all glow up.

  • It's ALIVE! [insane cackle]

    While this is serious science, there's a whiff of mad science about it. If this were my project, I'd dine out at science fiction conventions for the rest of my life on this.

  • Ok, I'm sure this is nothing to worry about, but the way part of the article was worded threw me off.

    the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases

    The way that's written, my first thought was using dogs as bioweapons. I doubt that's really the case, so what do they really mean by this?

    • Right? I was thinking they were implying they could genetically alter a human so that when given this antibiotic said person would contract a fatal disease.
    • They are trying to creates those dogs from Call of Duty's kino der toten level. Grab your shotgun.

    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      what do they really mean by this?

      What's different here is that the glow requires a trigger (the antibiotic). Their plan is to implant genes that cause, say, cystic fibrosis (picked totally at random, not sure what human diseases they could give a dog) in a dog embryo. The dog is born and grows up healthy, then when it's time to test a cystic fibrosis drug, they give the dog cystic fibrosis by giving them the antibiotic. Essentially, a way to test treatments for genetic defects when those defects would pr

  • Great! Now I don't have to pick my dog up, break it in half, and shake.
  • So what? My cat can produce spots on the carpet that glow under a fluorescent UV light. I suppose if we had a dog, the cat could pee on the dog and make it glow too. But you don't see cats running of to publish stuff in journals; they have too much important napping and paw-licking to do instead.
  • Mr. President, we *must* develop our own glowing dog before the North Koreans develop this technology too.

  • Corporate sponsorships. Yep, ads on animals, e.g. flashing on green sea turtles. And a talking chimp.

    The late Michael Crichton already wrote about it in Next.

  • I said glow in the dark mosquitos not beagles.

    • Glow in the dark mosquitos. Now that's a useful thought.

      But how to get the gene into the general population?

  • The opening dialog of Zhasu's intro in The Lion King, addressed to Scar was, "Didn't your mother teach you not to play with your food?". Looks like we could ask the Korean scientists the same thing.
  • This could turn out to be an energy saving breakthrough. Just imagine the annual energy savings from being able to dramatically reduce lighting levels in restaurants.
  • Now we can see dinner delivery coming at night.
  • I swear this story sounds familiar...
  • the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases

    Perhaps I'm in too much of a mad scientist mindset, but the summary sounded to me like they were making practice runs for an injectable kill switch for humans. "Mr. Bond, I've altered your DNA, making the serum I hold in my hand a deadly poison only to you." Better yet, if the villain has read his evil overlord list, he'd just tell Bond that the serum is a poison, and modify his minions' DNA so the same s

  • (first thing I thought of after seeing this)

  • Add some UV night lights and strap a small barrel of rum to the collar: You won't trip over the dog anymore and you can easily find you liquor.

    Scorpions are already UV fluorescent but are a real pain to train. Dogs are much safer to hold and pet.

  • The real question is - how does it taste?

    Ha ha. I know. Bad Korean Joke. :D But given that I know of Korean-Americans whose Korean-national relatives DO still eat dogs, and consider it to be a delicacy, - - it IS teh FUNNY!

  • What could go wrong with this?

    surely not starting the zombie invasion.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington