Scientists in Taiwan have created the world's first fully fluorescent green,transgenic piglets. The researchers hope the pigs will prove useful in monitoring and tracing changes in tissue during normal development, and also that the work will help boost the island's stem cell research aspirations. Professor Wu Shinn-Chih of the National Taiwan University Institute and Department of Animal Science and Technology made the announcement commenting that, 'There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green'.
The team injected the gene that codes for green fluorescent protein, originally derived from jellyfish, into more than 250 embryonic pigs. The embryos were then implanted into eight sows and, after four animals became pregnant, the scientists successfully delivered three male green-transgenic animals. In normal daylight the pigs' snouts, eyes, teeth and trotters appear yellow green, but the animals glow brightly under fluorescent light. It is hoped that eventually the pigs will be useful in tracing tissue development when stem cells are used to repair damaged organs. Professor Wu said, 'It should be helpful in the acceleration of research of human stem cells as, physically, pigs are among the animals most similar to human beings'.