It's been five long years since Taiwanese boffins brewed up a glow-in-the-dark pig, but one Reg reader's prayers* for the ultimate pet have finally appear to have been answered in the form of a fluorescent mutt.
According to Reuters, a Seoul National University team led by Lee Byeong-chun has sucessfully bred a GM beagle female called Tegon, using the same somatic cell nuclear transfer tech which was deployed to create the world's first cloned dog, Snuppy, back in 2005.
Lee Byeong-chun is the man who in 2009 claimed to have bred a quartet of self-illuminating beagles, but Tegon takes luminous canine tech to a whole new level.
Rather brilliantly, Tegon can be turned on and off like a bedside lamp. By adding a doxycycline antibiotic to her food, she'll "glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light".
The Seoul National University team is, of course, claiming that their research has benefits beyond that of offering dog-lovers the mutts' nuts of novelty breeds. Lead researcher Lee Byeong-chun said: "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."
Reuters elaborates that "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".
Readers wishing to acquire a switchable fluorescent dog should note that they don't come cheap – Tegon cost $3m to develop, and then you've got to factor in the cost of inoculations, worm tablets, and doxycycline every time you want to impress your dinner guests.
The Tegon research is published in the journal Genesis. ®
*Andy Bright wrote:
I suppose all the animal rights do-gooders will oppose me on this, but I think they should shift their attention from pigs to dogs.
As a marketable product, the pig is not really up there with plasma TVs or nextgen game consoles – but a glow-in-the-dark dog would be massive.
In fact I want one, bad enough to quit my job and cash out my pension to get one.
Maybe my wife and kids wouldn't appreciate the importance of such a purchase, especially when we're made homeless from the ensuing foreclosure, but in bragging rights, this would be right up there with owning a flying car.
Screw finding cures to diseases or other such twaddle, I want a glow-in-the-dark dog.