Opinion | Sexuality

Glow-in-the-Dark Bark

Ruppy, the world's first transgenic dog, raises questions about the ramifications of genetic tinkering.

My two-year-old has a pair of pajamas that glow in the dark. He loves them, and asks to wear them almost every night. And I say yes - as long as they're clean. But what do I say when he asks me for a glow-in-the-dark puppy?

Scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea recently announced the successful cloning of the world's first transgenic dog. "Transgenic," meaning that the dog, dubbed Ruppy (a combination of "ruby" and "puppy"), carries a gene from another species - in this case a red-fluorescing protein taken from a sea anemone. Headed by Byeong-Chun Lee, who made headlines in 2005 with Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog, the team of scientists injected cloned canine cells with the fluorescent gene in order to create Ruppy and four other glowing beagles. Ruppy doesn't actually glow in the dark, but she does fluoresce an eerie-looking red under UV light (see right).

I've seen fluorescing anemones at aquariums, waving in the water, their delicate fronds emitting a soft light ...

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