Gold rush calls for live glittering animals

I’ve heard and written a lot about non-living objects that shine at their best in gold. But this one sends shivers down my spine. Just couldn’t believe my eyes that read that ‘seahorses made of gold’. Folks in Vietnam have managed to develop the first genetically engineered animals, 108 living seahorses, made of gold. Barely two weeks old, the striped, glittering seahorses are still only about the size of matchsticks, but as they grow older, so will their value. They may still be tiny but are well worth their weight in gold. Created at the Viet Nam National University’s College of Science using “gene-shooting method”, rollover to know exactly how they managed….

“Gene GFP, a light-emitting gene extracted from jellyfish, was combined with tiny grains of gold. Then these grains of gold were injected into sea horse egg cells. The gold mixed with the jellyfish genes was incorporated into the cells of the sea horses, which glittered when they came into being,” the school’s head of animal physiology said. Ngoc and his colleagues have spent three years developing the technique and have more than 20 failures under the belt. The scientists experimented with a number of animals, but it was with seas horses that they earned their stripes. However, it’s not only the blinged factor that they are aiming at its application. In the field of medicine, the technique can be used to treat and replace people’s negative genes with gold genes. And in animals, it can be used to produce cows that produce more milk, pigs that are leaner, and hens that are more prolific layers. It can also be used to preserve the rare genes like that of endangered species or for cleaning the environment.