South Korean scientists said yesterday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.
A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.
The researchers, who completed a two-year test, said the ability to glow can be turned on or off by adding a drug to the dog’s food.
“The creation of Tegon opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,” the news agency quoted lead researcher Byeong-Chun Lee as saying.
He said the dog was created using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technology that the university team used to make the world’s first cloned dog, Snuppy, in 2005.
The scientist said that because there are 268 illnesses that humans and dogs have in common, creating dogs that artificially show such symptoms could aid treatment methods for diseases that afflict humans.
The latest discovery published in Genesis, an international journal, took four years of research with roughly 3.2 billion won ($3 million) spent to make the dog and conduct the necessary verification tests, Yonhap said.
A combination photo shows a cloned fluorescent puppy, a three-month-old beagle, glowing in the dark under ultra-violet light (top) and under daylight (bottom).