Glowing Cats Assist Researchers in AIDS Study

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By Alison Henderson
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are looking to glowing cats for the cure to HIV and AIDS infections.
Scientists have developed a process that involves injecting a gene from monkeys into cat eggs. Kittens then produce an AIDS resistant protein in the cells that are susceptible to the disease. This gene, also known as molecule TRIM5-alpha, scans cells in the body. It then enters viral cell and blocks harmful action, according to a BBC report.
To avoid invasive testing, researchers include a jellyfish gene in the injection that causes the modified cells to glow. Shining a blue light on the kitten shows that the injection has taken hold in the cat.
Cats are the subject of this test because they are susceptible to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Similar to HIV, FIV depletes the body's ability to fight off infection, leading to AIDs in cats.
Molecular biologist, Dr. Eric Poeschla told NPR that if the gene is able to protect against the virus, it may be used to help other mammals in the future.

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This page contains a single entry by hende331 published on September 18, 2011 10:40 AM.

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