How Glowing Animals may help Cure Disease

Modern science can sometimes be a marvelous thing to ponder. Though some diseases still manage to elude a cure, researchers and scientists are making incredible discoveries on a daily basis. Doctors have now stamped out some childhood diseases while also performing transplants of everything from hearts to faces. It leaves one to wonder what could be coming next.

There are some that are not excited about how researchers arrive at some of their conclusions. Among those folks are animal activists, who know that often, breakthroughs come at the expense of test animals. Scientists, in search of live test subjects, often turn to the animal world for unwitting participants. The reason this leaves activists up in arms is that many animals die in the name of testing.

One can imagine then that these groups are not happy about glow in the dark animals. Yes, the Internet is ablaze with stories of rabbits, mice, and monkeys who glow in the name of science. Seems like another cruel and inhumane story, until one takes some time to research what is actually being done. It is part of a genetic manipulation experiment, where the animal is injected with a protein found in the DNA of jellyfish. Jellyfish are known to glow in the water, so this protein causes the animal that gets the injection to glow under black light.

What then are scientists trying to accomplish by pumping some bunnies full of glowing proteins? It all has to do with trying to get at the core of hereditary diseases. What the glowing does is let the scientists view whether their genetic manipulation techniques are working. What the researchers are hoping is that they might later be able to inject the subject with other DNA. Once combined, the test animal might be able to produce medicine that could aid in the fight against other diseases.

The reasoning is sound enough, but it does not seem to do much to lessen the angst of the animal activists. After all, will the animals still end of suffering in the end? According to a Gizmodo piece on the subject, the answer to that is no. Dr. Stefan Moisyadi was quoted as saying, “Don’t worry. It doesn’t hurt the little bunnies. The glowing rabbits will live long normal and healthy lives, pointing to a study from CalTech that yielded glowing mice that showed no adverse side effects.”

That has to be some good news for the animal activists, though they will likely still protest against animals being used at all. The next phase in this genetic manipulation research will be to progress on to bigger animals. These glowing genes have already been put into sheep, according to the Gizmodo article. The scientists hope, as the progress up the size scale, to see how the amount they can see changes. In the end, they hope to turn these animals into a sort of pharmaceutical factory. If they can produce medicine that can be safely extracted out of animals, it would go a long way towards ending the skyrocketing cost of medicine the American public is facing now.