Weird science: Glow-in-the-dark kittens'”for real!
Not that you would ever want one (nor could you afford one, most likely), but a research group out of Korea has “built” a glow-in-the-dark cat.
Now, you may think this in the same vein as the allergen-free cats that came out of Texas a few years ago—but you’d be wrong. These cats are not for sale to the fickle US populace looking for new and exciting dinner party conversation. They’re part of a research project attempting to incorporate foreign genes into living beings with the goal of expanding opportunities for the treatment of human diseases—and perhaps for animal diseases, too.
The first litter of these freaky felines was born last month. When a black light shines on them they glow an eerie orange. But don’t feel too sorry for them; except for one bit of DNA code propagating this strange, psychedelic trait, they’re otherwise perfectly normal.
Their glow-ability comes courtesy of a gene for red fluorescence (akin to a pigment found in deep-sea creatures the likes of which you might see in disc two of The Blue Planet, one of the best nature series I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience). It was spliced into their DNA by novel means (which I’m not privy to), holding promise for generations of creatures in need of new genes to help deal with whatever disease ails them.
What’s next, then? Dogs with DNA that cancels out the expression of hip dysplasia? Cats with traits to thwart diabetes? Humans with a gene that limits cancer? Who knows?
Though no one likes to ponder the use of lab cats for scientific experimentation, glow-in-the-dark cats might ultimately lead to the real deal: a cure for what kills us—and them, too.