Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tell me this isn't awesome.

OK, I know GFP is hardly news since the Nobel Prize was awarded to the scientists who discovered it and made it available to researchers. But, come on - tell me this cat ain't cool:

Meet Mr. Green Genes.

He's a nearly 6-month-old orange tabby whose eyes, gums and tongue glow a vivid lime green, the result of a genetic experiment at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. He's the first fluorescent cat in the United States, according to Betsy Dresser, the center's director.

The researchers made him so they could learn whether a gene could be introduced harmlessly into the feline's genetic sequence - the first step in making gene therapy a real way to fight disease in animals as well as people. The gene, which was added to Mr. Green Genes' DNA when he was created earlier this year, has no effect on his health, Dresser said. They chose a GFP to show that the gene went where it was supposed to go.

Mr. Green Genes is slated to become a stud next - for research purposes, of course. He will start working the ladies so the Audubon team can determine whether the fluorescence gene can be transmitted. This, of course, brings up the most important question.

When and where can I buy a glow-in-the-dark kitten?