Japanese scientists announced this week the creation of genetically altered monkeys that glow green under fluorescent light and have the capability of passing the unusual trait to their offspring.


News of the supernatural-sounding marmosets marked the first time monkeys have inherited added genes from their scientifically altered parents.

Known as transgenic, because of their added genes, the monkeys emit a green glow from the skin, hair and blood of their feet.

Details on the glowing primates, which appear in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature, include how researchers Erika Sasaki and Hideyuki Okano of the Keio University School of Medicine in Japan used a virus to transfer the green gene into monkey embryos.

A female monkey implanted with the altered embryos later gave birth to four offspring with the ability to glow green.

The scientists involved in the study hope to use the fluorescent monkeys in research for human diseases like Parkinson’s and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Transgenic monkeys, mice and other animals have been created in previous experiments, but the ability for such animals to inherent added genes is being hailed as a breakthrough.

“The birth of this transgenic marmoset baby is undoubtedly a milestone,” wrote Shoukhrat Mitalipov, of Oregon Health and Sciences University, and stem cell expert Dr. Gerald Schatten, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in the journal Nature.

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