Who knows, pigs might just fly…

A pig genetically modified in China to make it glow has given birth to fluorescent piglets, proving such changes can be inherited, state media said on Wednesday.

The sow was one of three pigs who had fluorescent green protein injected into their embryos when they were bred in December 2006 by scientists in northeast China, Xinhua news agency said in a report late on Tuesday.

The pigs glow green when placed under an ultraviolet light.

After mating the sow with an ordinary pig, two of the resulting 11 piglets inherited the feature, Liu Zhonghua, a professor at Northeast Agricultural University in the city of Harbin, was quoted as saying.

“The mouths, trotters and tongues of the two piglets glow green under ultraviolet light, which indicates the technology to breed transgenic pigs via cell nuclear transfer is mature,” said Liu.

Scientists in Taiwan had bred fluorescent pigs in January 2006, but Liu said the birth of the fluorescent Chinese piglets proved such changes could be passed on to offspring, which expands scientific and medical possibilities.

“This technology promises to breed excellent transgenic pigs and even raise special pigs to provide organs for human transplant operations in the future,” he said.

His teams used somatic cell nuclear transfer technology previously employed in the cloning of animals by US, South Korean, and Japanese scientists, Xinhua said.

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