Glow-in-the-dark cats for AIDS research

Russian ships of the Baltic Fleet conduct air defence exercise Credit: Tsuguliev/Shutterstock.com

SCIENTISTS working with AIDS have created green-glowing cats as part of their work to beat the illness.

The animals’ DNA was modified with a gene from a fluorescent jellyfish and give off a green glow when placed under a blue light. The gene was inserted into cats which then gave birth to luminous kittens.

The purpose of the study was to find out if a natural protein that prevents macaque monkeys from developing AIDS can do the same in cats. Cats are susceptible to a feline version of the HIV virus that triggers Aids and overwhelms the immune system.

The monkeys have proteins known as “restriction factors” that can stop viruses from invading immune cells. The cats have been engineered to reproduce the restriction factors.

Animal welfare campaigners have opposed the experiments and said they have ethical concerns about the research.

Pet detective on the case

An elderly couple in Cumbria, UK paid £1,000 to a pet detective to help find their grey and white male Siamese cat named Cloudy.

The 15-year-old cat went missing from their home last October, and the couple put up posters and spoke to locals to try to find him, but when he did not turn up, they called in the pet detective agency. Animal Search UK came up from Hereford to help with the search.

Tom Watkins, 37, the founder of Animal Search UK has a history of detective work, bringing skills from his time in the police and as a fraud investigator.

Senior Pet control

September is Senior Pet Wellness month in the USA. Pet life expectancy has doubled in the past fifty years, due mainly to vast improvements in nutrition and the development of vaccines against common diseases.

One of the programmes which will be carried out especially in September is early detection programs for senior pets.

Regular screening tests should be carried out from the age of seven for dogs and 10 for cats, which is roughly the equivalent to 50 for humans, and should be carried out every six to 12 months.

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