It would seem that Japan has decided to be a little more transparent with some of their scientific experiments.

Scientists at Hiroshima University’s Institute for Amphibian Biology in Hiroshima, western Japan, have bred transparent frogs whose organs can be seen through their skin.

The lead researcher Masayuki Sumida, says researchers produced the creature from rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica.

“You can see through the skin how organs grow, how cancer starts and develops. The researcher can observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs. You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don’t have to dissect it.” — Professor Sumida

Reducing the number of dissections in schools will eliminate a lot of controversy from animal rights groups concerned with humane treatment of laboratory animals. It will also save schools money on the purchase of frogs to dissect.

The researchers also say that by fusing the genes of fluorescent proteins to the frog’s genes, they can create frogs that glow. Supposedly they would be able to see exactly when a cancer begins to develop as the frogs will actually begin to glow in the dark.

I can’t imagine any genetic engineering being on the horizon to breed transparent dogs or cats. However, I bet lots of parents wish those hamsters and gerbils that occasionally get loose would glow in the dark.

Professor Sumida may start a side line product by producing glow-in-the-dark “little pets” to pay for his research.