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Glow in the Dark Cats to Cure Aids?

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Cats have been genetically modified to glow green and help in the bid to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Scientists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota have developed GM cats that are resistant to the cat version of HIV. They have also been crossed with a jellyfish gene that makes the cats luminous under a blue light in order to help the US scientists track their methods success.

Mayo molecular biologist and leader of the international study, Dr Eric Poeschla explained: "One of the best things about this biomedical research is that it is aimed at benefiting both human and feline health."

The team at the Mayo clinic introduced the protective gene into a cat egg and used IVF to produce the GM cats, which have gone on to have healthy glowing offspring.

The majority of the thriving kittens have the protective genes proving the gene stays in successive generations.

HIV/AIDS has killed over 30 million people and there is currently no vaccine available. Millions of cats also suffer and die from FIV/AIDS every year. Dr Poeschla's project concerns ways introduced genes can protect species against viruses and eventually the knowledge and technology produced can provide valuable information for AIDS.

The findings appear in the current online issue of Nature Methods.

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