Glowing Developments: Fluorescent Sow Reproduces Trait

CHINA - Reports in Chinese State Media say that a fluorescent green Chinese pig has given birth to piglets that share the dam's transgenic characteristics.
calendar icon 9 January 2008
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Two piglets born to a transgenic pig are held under an ultraviolet lamp to show that they possess green fluorescent pigment, or GFP, The transgenic pig gave birth to 11 piglets, says China's state press.

The sow, which was bred with a conventional boar, is one of the three fluorescent green pigs successfully bred by a research team in December 2006 after they injected fluorescent green protein into pig embryos.

“The mouths, trotters and tongues of the two piglets glow green under ultraviolet light, which indicates the technology to breed transgenic pigs via cell nuclear transfer is mature,” said Liu Zhonghua, a professor at Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province.

She produced 11 piglets on Monday, but so far only two of them appear to have inherited the fluorescent feature.

“This technology promises to breed excellent transgenic pigs and even raise special pigs to provide organs for human transplant operations in the future,” Liu was quoted as saying.

Chinese scientists bred the pigs using somatic-cell nuclear transfer technology following similar successes in the United States, South Korea and Japan.

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