Glow-in-the-dark cats, jellyfish and monkeys may prevent AIDS


Kittens are not just adorable, they may also help end AIDS. (Robert Otto)

Before writing this off as just another adorable Internet hoax (green cat battles plague with trusty monkey sidekick!), pause a moment to consider the source: the Mayo Clinic. Researchers at what is, according to The Washington Post, “a world-renowned medical complex that is often cited by President Obama as his model for national heath-care reform,” may have found a way to pass along a protective gene that fights AIDS.


A cat which has been genetically altered to make cells that resist a version of the AIDS virus that affects cats, along with a jellyfish protein that makes it glow green. (Reuters)

That’s where the glowing part comes in. The experiments use a glowing gene taken from a jellyfish that allows scientists to track the success of gene transference. The results are literally visible in the dark. If the transfer works, cats glow green or red.

The study also inserts a gene from a rhesus macaque that fights feline AIDS virus. The Mayo Clinic reports that the first findings of the study show cats with the protective genes to be thriving and producing kittens with the same gene.

Here’s a report from last year that shows how Japanese scientists work with the glowing gene on cats:

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