Halloween’s coming

Scare the neighbors! Alarm your friends!

Or they may all just squee all over the place, who knows?

Green glowing kittens. Can puppies be far behind?

When these green kitties were still twinkles in their parents’ eyes, scientists investigating a macaque gene thought to protect monkeys against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) inserted it into cat eggs with a lab-grown virus, intending to test whether cats carrying the gene were resistant to FIV as well. Researchers are interested in seeing how the macaque gene guards against FIV, which is the feline version of HIV, in hopes of transferring their insights to combating HIV.

But here’s where things get wacky: The team also included in the virus a jellyfish gene that makes a glowing green protein, to act as a signal. The virus does not always succeed in transferring the genes entrusted to it, but by including the jellyfish gene, the team gave themselves an easy way to tell when the transfer took place: kittens that glow green under fluorescent light, showing that they carry the jellyfish gene, almost certainly carry the macaque gene as well.

3 thoughts on “Halloween’s coming”

  1. An FIV-resistant cat is miraculous in and of itself, but then they made the cats glow in the dark! I would say that I want one, but it would light up the bedroom at night like the worst digital alarm clock and I would never get any sleep.

  2. Luckily, I sleep in a protective shield of purring cats. Plus once I get to sleep, you could run a high school marching band through my room and I wouldn’t wake up. I frequently arise in the morning with a few new scratches and half the house destroyed via early morning kitty krazies. I could definitely do without the voms, though. Especially stealth voms…the ones that you find with your bare feet instead of your eyes…

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