August 18, 2013
Researchers Create Glowing Bunnies, Dash My Dreams Of A Saturday Morning Cartoon
It may seem like putting the proverbial cart before the proverbial horse to develop glowing green and furry bunnies to produce drugs (after all, aren’t drugs usually taken to produce glowing green bunnies?), but genetic scientists from Hawaii and Turkey have spent the last two years cloning luminous rabbits.
As if preemptively defending their actions, the team says they pursued this work more as a proof of concept, as a way to show that they could potentially heal humans with genetic diseases by implanting them with outside DNA.
If my past experience with glowing animals is any indication (I once spray painted the neighbor’s cat with glow-in-the-dark paint), my mother will NOT believe any excuse you give her, even if you proclaim the name of good lady science.
So, good luck with that sale, guys.
It’s a fascinating idea, these glowing bunnies. Stefan Moisyadi, a professor with the University of Hawaii and professor emeritus Ryuzo Yanagimachi say this proof of concept means that they’ve developed a pretty good way of transporting DNA from one species to another and this, in turn, could lead to better medicine.
The luminous DNA in question originated in jellyfish, an animal known to emit light while on the sea surface or after being washed up on the sand. The glowing matter actually lives in a specific protein in the jellyfish DNA, so all the scientists had to do was isolate it and pump it into a mother rabbit’s embryo.
Ok, it might have been a little more difficult than that.
When the litter of cloned rabbits was born, two out of eight contained the glowing gene, meaning the procedure was about 25 percent successful. Moisyadi said he’s pretty happy with that number and that the glowing rabbits are shining as brightly as an LED light.
“And on top of it, their fur is beginning to grow and the greenness is shining right through their fur. It’s so intense,” he said.
But again, this wasn’t done for funsies.
The scientists aren’t training a crack team of search and rescue bunnies meant to hop to the nearest exit or shine life-saving light on victims of natural disasters…unfortunately.
I mean, you might be trapped underneath some fallen rubble, but wouldn’t a glowing rabbit add a bit of light (figuratively and literally) into your day?
“It’s just a marker to show that we can take a gene that was not originally in the animal and now exists in the animal,” said Moisyadi, almost as if he knew some dumb writer would suggest rescue bunnies. I mean, the idea is ripe for monetization, merchandising and, most importantly, a Saturday Morning Cartoon spinoff. If Bill and Ted had their cartoon then gosh darn it, I want Glowing Rescue Bunnies!
Apparently Moisyadi and Yanagimachi are pretty set on using these animals to further the cause of science and not feed my boyish imagination.
“[For] patients who suffer from hemophilia and they need the blood clotting enzymes in their blood, we can make those enzymes a lot cheaper in animals with barrier reactives rather than a factory that will cost billions of dollars to build,” said Moisyadi.
You’ve got a good point, sir…but you’ll never crush my dreams, and I’ll be damned if I deprive the youth of today from such a brilliant idea as a cartoon about a task force of life-saving rabbits with magical powers.
Someone get me my agent on the phone.
Image Credit: Zethinova / Shutterstock