While some creepy-crawly and deep sea animals emit a naturally occurring glow, a group of South Korean researchers have created a luminescent version of man's best friend. The female beagle, named Tegon, may be a far cry from your typical phosphorescent oceanlife, but her odd talent is actually in the name of human genetics research underway at Seoul National University.
Unlike some other experiments in inserting phosphorent genes into otherwise un-glowing animals, Tegon's trait can be turned on and off using Doxycycline, a common veterinary antibiotic, and viewed under ultraviolet light. While the research is somewhat nascent at this stage, the team ultimately hopes to extend their hyper-specific gene-tinkerings to reining in human diseases that possess a strong genetic link.
Science has plenty of use for making critters glow in the dark — and it's not all just for fun. By creating phosphorescent animals or cells, scientists can visualize and pinpoint specific genetic pathways through glow in the dark trial-and-error.
In 2009, a Japanese research institute bred glowing marmosets that can actually pass down the man-made characteristic through natural breeding, but Tegon's medicinally-triggered trick offers a unique twist on the experimental bright idea.
[Image credit: Reuters]
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