These are the hands of a marmoset, genetically engineered to glow green under ultraviolet light. The transgenic marmosets aren't the first primates to glow but are apparently the first that pass the genetic modification down to their offspring. The green-glowing marmosets, and other transgenic animals that glow, are used by scientists to gain insight into genetic diseases. Of course, some people aren't too thrilled with this kind of genetic engineering. In fact, tech-artist Eduardo Kac explored some of these hot topics with Alba
, his "GFP Bunny" created in 2000. From the BBC News:
Erika Sasaki of the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan, and her colleagues, have introduced a gene into marmoset embryos that allows them to build green fluorescent protein (GFP) in their tissues.
Glowing monkeys 'to aid research' (Thanks, Antinous!)
The protein is so-called because it glows green in a process known as fluorescence.
GFP was originally isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which glows green when exposed to blue light.
The protein has become a standard in biology and genetic engineering, and its discovery even warranted a Nobel prize.
From 91 embryos, a total of five GFP-enabled transgenic marmosets were born, including twins Kei and Kou ("keikou" is Japanese for "fluorescence").
Crucially, the team was able to show that their method is maintained in the family - or germline.
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