Scientists have created an honest-to-goodness glow in the dark dog in a quest to cure disease in humans.
Boffins in South Korea created the luminous pooch using cloning, and they hope that the technique they used can be put to work in the fight against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
A team at Seoul National University bred Tegon, a beagle who was genetically modified, in 2009. When given an antibiotic, she glows an eerie green when exposed to ultraviolet light.
After two years of testing, researchers found that Tegon’s ability to glow can be controlled by adding certain drugs to her food.
Head 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.”
Tegon took four years and an incredible $3 million (£1.8 million) to breed, and the team at the university used the same methods as they did when creating Snuppy, the first ever cloned dog, in 2005.
Defending their tinkering with Tegon’s genes, the team states that as there are around 268 diseases that humans and dogs have in common. Creating a dog that can artificially display symptoms could help in the development of treatments for humans.
Although the idea of a glow-in-the-dark pooch may be attractive – imagine how many people you would spook when walking one at night! – Tegon is not bioluminescent. In other words, she is not able to generate her own light. However, no doubt the first company to breed such a dog would make money hand over fist.