“Glow in the Dark” Puppies – World’s First Transgenic Dogs

May 15, 2009


New Scientist announced that a cloned beagle named Ruppy — short for Ruby Puppy — is one of four  successful live births of dogs that produce a fluorescent protein that glows red under ultraviolet light. Click on the image for larger size.

The red fluorescent gene responsible for this was taken from a variety of sea anemones. This was the result of work by Byeon-Chun Lee of  Seoul National University, South Korea who was part of the team that produced the first cloned dog, Snuppy in 2005.

What is significant about this is not the Glow in the Dark aspect, rather the fact that this is the world’s first transgenic dog.

Transgenic is a term that applies to any organism that has had a foreign gene deliberately inserted into it genome using recombinant DNA methodology. Other DNA sequences are also inserted so that the new gene can be incorporated in the DNA of the host so that it will be expressed correctly by the cells of the host.

Previously, this technique has been used to make sheep and goats that express foreign proteins in their milk.This could ultimately result in an efficient way to produce proteins for medical research and the treatment of human disease.

Cloning is still a very difficult, time-consuming process that has a high failure rate. Byeon-Chun Lee’s team began with 344 embryos implanted into 20 dogs that resulted in only 7 pregnancies, only 4 of which survived. That’s a success rate of just 1.7 %.

For the complete article, go here.


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.