Animals that Glow

Glofish  You may have seen glofish at the pet store and wondered what made them so bright.

In 2008 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who isolated green fluorescent protein (GFP) originally discovered in jellyfish.  GFP is now used to study previously invisible processes like the development of nerve cells. A Harvard team working with mice invented “brainbows” using three different colors of GFP to show the neurons of a mouse’s brain.

“Brainbow” Credit: Photograph courtesy Livet, et al

Scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Researh Center used GFP to study the DNA defect that causes Huntington’s disease experimenting with Rhesus macaque monkeys.

Glow monkey Photograph courtesy Anthony Chan, Emory University

Red fluorescent protein introduced into cloned DNA in cat eggs produced a Turkish Angora house cat that glowed under ultraviolent light.

Cloned cat on left and normal cat on right.
Photograph by Choi Byung-kil/Yonhap via AP

Adding GFP to the DNA of cloned animals does not effect the animal’s health or behavior.  To see a video of the first American glow cat named Mr. Green Genes go to


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