In 2006, pig embryos were injected with a green fluorescent protein, and three pigs were born with glowing green snouts, tongues and trotters under ultraviolet light. This was a major accomplishment in the field of genetic research, and recently the success has been furthered by one of the three fluorescent pigs passing on the trait to two of her piglets.
The Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, China recently confirmed these findings on their website. Two of 11 piglets displayed the same green fluorescent traits as their mother. This showed that such “transgenic” pigs are fertile, and can pass these altered traits onto their offspring.
In addition, the birth of these piglets further supports the popular belief that pigs and other animals can be genetically altered and bred for human transplant organs. Specifically, the benefit of the fluorescent green organs of pigs being transplanted into humans would allow these organs to be monitored more easily following the transplant.
There have been other studies and potential successes with transgenic pigs recently, but few concrete results have been published. For instance, at Tokyo’s Meiji University, a transgenic pig was cloned that carried the genes for human diabetes, a success that could contribute to controlling, or perhaps curing, this deadly disease.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: National Geographic News. Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press. January 2008: Study: Zhonghua, Liu. Northeast Agricultral University.
Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.