Glow-in-the-Dark Cats to Help Fight AIDS?


(CLEVELAND) — A glow-in-the-dark cat is the latest research to be unveiled in the fight against AIDS.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic paired a gene from a fluorescent jellyfish to track another gene that is known to resist the development of the feline AIDS virus. The cat version of the disease depletes the body’s infection-fighting T-cells, just as it does in people.

Researchers inserted the gene pairing into female cats’ eggs before they had been fertilized by sperm. After the cats gave birth, the kittens glowed green under a blue light.

Scientists have used the technique in previous research to examine the protein’s ability to resist the disease in macaque monkeys, but researchers said this study is the first to genetically modify reproductive cells in a carnivorous animal.

The gene, called the rhesus macaque restriction factor, is known to block infection of FIV. The goal, Mayo scientists said, is to create cats with built-in immunity to the feline AIDS virus.

Scientists would like to eventually insert protective genes that could fight HIV in humans.

As Reported On ABC News Radio

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