AOL News Report (April 24) – Bioengineering is going to the dogs.
A team of South Korean scientists has created the world’s first fluorescent puppy, according to New Scientist magazine.
By normal light, Ruppy looks like any other beagle puppy. In ultraviolet light, she glows red. She’s the first transgenic puppy, meaning she was created with some genetic material from another creature — in this case, cloned cells that include a red fluorescent gene sea anemones produce. Researchers from the Seoul National University in South Korea released the photos this week.
The cloned beagle, dubbed Ruppy, which is short for Ruby Puppy, made her photographic debut on Thursday. The four-legged experiment looks like a normal pup in daylight, but under ultraviolet light she glows red.
The odd effect was created by cloning cells that include a red fluorescent gene that sea anemones produce.
Ruppy is transgenic, meaning she has genes from another animal. Scientists said they hope this will pave the way to model human diseases in dogs, whose relatively long life-span could make them better study subjects than other animals.
While scientists have created other animals that glow, Ruppy is a first for canines. The magazine said scientists also created four other beagles that share her same red trait.
Byeong-Chun Lee of Seoul National University in South Korea lead the team that created the dogs. Stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang was also part of that team. Hwang has come under fire for fraudulent work with human cells, but he also helped create the first cloned dog, Snuppy, and an investigation later validated the dog experiment.
One scientist called the glowing puppy an “important accomplishment.” But another dog geneticist doubted the experiment’s value, calling the developmental process “laborious, expensive and slow.”
Editor’s Comment: I am one animal lover that finds this atrocious. There’s no need to bio-engineer a glow-in-the-dark puppy. Animals are not toys. Research is beneficial, I know, but creating a glowing puppy crosses the line. What do you think?