Genetically modified glowing monkeys

Scientists in a storm over day-glo monkeys

Scientists in a storm over day-glo monkeys - Asia-Pacific, World News -

The five marmosets carry a fluorescent protein gene that causes their skin to glow under ultraviolet light

By John von Radowitz

Thursday May 28 2009

A QUINTET of glowing monkeys threatens to engulf scientists in new controversy over the ethics of animal experiments and genetic engineering.
The five marmosets carry a fluorescent protein gene that causes their skin to glow under ultraviolet light.
Scientists were able to show that the gene could be inherited by offspring.
The Japanese breakthrough opens up the prospect for the first time of monkeys being used -- like mice -- as research tools for the study of numerous human diseases. But it also raises major ethical concerns about the use of primates in animal experiments, and scientists tiptoeing towards a "brave new world" of genetically modified humans.
Dr David King, from the group Human Genetics Alert, said: "I'm worried that these steps are being taken without any overall public discussion about whether we want to go down that road. We may find ourselves gradually drifting towards the genetic engineering of human beings. It is clear to me that the scientific community wants at the very least to keep that possibility open.
"'Slippery slope' is a quite inadequate description of the process, because it doesn't happen passively. People push it forward."
The research, led by Dr Erika Sasaki, from the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan, was published yesterday in the leading scientific journal 'Nature'.
Viruses were used to carry the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene into 91 marmoset embryos. Five of the embryos developed into offspring delivered by surrogate mothers.
They included a pair of twins named Kei and Kou. The word "keikou" means "fluorescence" in Japanese.
The GFP gene was shown to be active in all of them, causing their skin, hair roots and various other tissues to glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.
The picture shows two of the monkeys with an inset of their glowing limbs under ultraviolet light.
- John von Radowitz
Don't these scientists know any better?

If the tail's hairless you can be careless, if it's covered in hair people are going to care.
L Gilbert
It isn't the tool that's harmful, usually; it's the usage. Sometimes I think people should glow. In different colors even.
lone wolf
Imagine the black light effects.....
L Gilbert
hehehe Our youngest came close one time. She showed up home after school one day with hair that was neon pink. lol
I think the issue is less about the critters being cute Niflmir, and more about them being too close to us up the ladder. People (most people) aren't comfortable with the notion of genetic modification on humans.
I am all for it. It seems preferable to eugenics.