According to a paper published in the journal Genesis, South Korean scientists have created a dog that glows fluorescent green in the dark.
The cloning technique utilized could prove to be a powerful tool in finding cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The female beagle, named Tegan, is not the first animal to serve as a three-fold-purpose animal: research tool, pet and night light.
However, Tegan represents a breakthrough in cloning techniques because her luminosity can be turned on or off and is monitored by adding an antibiotic to her food. The ability to experimentally turn a gene on or off is a compelling tool because it allows scientists to monitor the effects of any given gene. This could reveal significant indicators as to how diseases develop.
Scientists justify using the diseases of dogs as a model due to the fact that there are 268 illnesses that humans have in common with dogs.
Tegan is a work in progress, as her green fluorescent gene serves only to confirm that the technology used to create her actually works.
“The creation of Tegan opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,” said Seoul University researcher Byeong-chun Lee.
These new horizons may not be viewed the same way under PETA’s scrutinizing microscope, however, nor with other animal welfare groups. Although Tegan’s life does not appear to be compromised in any way, the fact that she has been created for experimental purposes is the crux of the issue.
Of course, no one can ask Tegan exactly how she feels about this.
Perhaps the next genetically created dog might be able to speak and voice his or her opinion about the greater good??