Published April 29, 2013
These sheep really do shine from within.
A group of scientists in Uruguay have announced that they have successfully modified the genetic makeup of sheep to make them glow-in-the-dark.
Scientists from the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay said they used a fluorescent protein from an Aequarea jelly fish to give a flock of nine sheep a distinct glowing green color when exposed to certain ultraviolet light.
So far, aside from their unique genetic modification, the animals are developing normally and roaming the fields like any other sheep.
One of the team’s lead researchers, Alejo Menchaca, said that the modification was done not out of medical research but the desire to “fine-tune the technique.”
Sheep are not the first animals to be modified to glow-in-the-dark.
Scientists have created a glow-in-the-dark animal trend using zebrafish, cats, dogs, pigs, scorpions, worms, monkeys, mice, and more.
These seemingly wacky experiments do have a purpose though.
According to researchers, they believe these genetically modified animals can help us better understand diseases and how they develop in both animals and humans. Scientists have used glow-in-the-dark cats to research HIV and AIDS.
"The application of the new technology," scientists from the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh told The Guardian, should provide "valuable information for the study of AIDS."