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God schmod. I want my monkey man.
October 24, 2008 7:37 AM   Subscribe

"We'll breed him and we'll see if his kids glow, too!" Meet Mr. Green Genes: (No, not that Mr. Green Jeans) Pic. Pic.

The Best Week Ever doesn't get it.

This cat isn't Zappa's daddy either.

previously. previously. previously.
posted by cjorgensen (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome! No, awful! No, awesome... wait, no! I can't decide!
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 7:42 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would like to put in a request for a video of the cat playing with a Cat Dancer in a darkened room. Until I am laughing at that hysterical video I cannot support this example of man playing neon god.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:47 AM on October 24, 2008


What happens if you let it run around in a tokamak?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:50 AM on October 24, 2008


This pic would make an awesome album cover!
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:50 AM on October 24, 2008


Yes! You know what that means is right up the pike?

That's right. Sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads!
posted by humannaire at 7:52 AM on October 24, 2008


I'm pretty sure all the cats in Chernobyl look like this.
posted by Sailormom at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2008


Questions:

1. First glow-in-the-dark cat in the U.S.. Where else have they been doing this?
2. Are we really so blase about cloning after such a short time that it's become the most pedestrian part of this story? Seriously?
3. Could the Post Chronicle somehow cram any more flashing and annoying ads into their site, if they tried really hard?

Also: cute, and I don't really see a moral issue with it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2008


> The Best Week Ever doesn't get it.

Yes, yes, insert obvious rejoinder here. But nevermind that. The Best Week Ever's blog title is, "ICYMI: Mr. Green Genes, The Genetically- Engineered Glow-In-The-Dark Cat, Is A Total F**king Disappointment" And that's what I don't get. If you're going to say "fuck", say "fuck". Don't fucking fuck around with fucking placeholders to coyly fucking dance around with getting across the fucking word both you want to say, your audience wants to hear you say, and which all of you, all together, fucking say every fucking day. In chorus. On the lawn. If you really are trying to censor yourself, or avoid base obscenities, say "freaking disappointment" or "gosh-darned disappointment" or fucking well come up with a snippet of copy that might fucking imply that you've got a dribble of wit intact enough to say something too clever to appear on a fucking daytime TV program.

And now, back to that creepy-ass nightmare cat that's going to eat your genitals while you sleep.
posted by ardgedee at 7:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can haz burqa?
posted by mandal at 8:08 AM on October 24, 2008


I'm torn.

I hate cats, but I love things that glow in the dark.
posted by bookwo3107 at 8:19 AM on October 24, 2008


Who need cloning?
posted by netbros at 8:22 AM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


But is it declawed? That's the important question.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:23 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


a cloned orange tabby, has a gene that makes it glow, glows under a black light

Have you ever really looked at your cat?
posted by DU at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2008


I'm fine with this. Just please, don't breed broccoli to grow little ecstatic faces.
posted by naju at 8:32 AM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


>>What happens if you let it run around in a tokamak?

You can't talk him out of anything!
posted by now i'm piste at 8:33 AM on October 24, 2008


It only glows under a black light? Totally weak. Call me when it is inherently phosphorescent.

I want to see where that bastard is when I have to pee at night.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I want to see where that bastard is when I have to pee at night.

Hey, no fair – you should have to hone your ninja senses to piss on a cat in the dark.
posted by mandal at 8:56 AM on October 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can someone involved in genetic research explain whether this cat is actually part of a legitimate test to see if cloning is possible with cats, or if it's just a marketing technique to suggest future capabilities of the technology to funders?

I can understand the possibility that cloning could be an extremely valuable tool toward saving endangered species. But I can't understand how the choice of this particular gene has much to do with that, let alone diabetes research.

1. We just did something with Genes
2. Genes are involved with Diabetes
3. If we can do more stuff with Genes, we can cure diabetes

This just doesn't add up. Now, I recognise that it's hard to explain the merits of research to the public, but at what point does it become misleading?

I would be grateful to have someone involved in this kind of research explain.
posted by honest knave at 8:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the cat.

GOD'S CHILDREN
—Raymond Douglas Davies

Man made the buildings that reach for the sky
And man made the motorcar and learned how to fly
But he didn't make the flowers and he didn't make the trees
And he didn't make you and he didn't make me
And he got no right to turn us into machines

No, he's got no right at all
'Cause we are all god's children
And they got no right to change us
Oh, we gotta go back the way the good lord made us all

Don't want this world to change me
I wanna go back the way the good lord made me
Same lungs that he gave me to breathe with
Same eyes he gave me to see with

Oh, the rich man, poor man, the saint and the sinner
The wise man, the simpleton, the loser and the winner
We are all the same to him
Stripped of our clothes and all the things we own

Oh, he day that we are born
We are all god's children
And they got no right to change us
Oh, we gotta go back the way the good lord made us

Oh, the good lord made us all
And we are all his children
And they got no right to change us
Oh, we gotta go back the way the good lord made us all
Yeah, we gotta go back the way the good lord made us all
posted by Forrest Greene at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2008


Personally, I don't believe in "god." I do believe in the fear, greed, and stupidity of man.
posted by Forrest Greene at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2008


This is cat is the direct result of this year's Nobel Prize-winning work in chemistry (previously).

Why is it important? It's a tracer gene which allows researchers to figure out if they've inserted a gene in the right place on the right strand of DNA. It's as essential to gene manipulation and comprehension as a tape measure is to a carpenter. They're both measuring the DNA of the cat and how accurately they can alter it.
posted by bonehead at 9:56 AM on October 24, 2008


I want to make green flourescent protein in my cells.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:01 AM on October 24, 2008


First glow-in-the-dark cat in the U.S.. Where else have they been doing this?

No cats, but the first mammal (I think) was a rabbit in 2000. Called an 'art project', but really more of a technical demonstration. It's been done to pigs too.

Are we really so blase about cloning after such a short time that it's become the most pedestrian part of this story? Seriously?

Seriously? Yes.

Could the Post Chronicle somehow cram any more flashing and annoying ads into their site, if they tried really hard?

We have the technology.
posted by bonehead at 10:02 AM on October 24, 2008


Could the Post Chronicle somehow cram any more flashing and annoying ads into their site, if they tried really hard?
Try Adblock Plus and Flashblock.
posted by 999 at 10:39 AM on October 24, 2008


“We’ll breed him and we’ll see if his kids glow, too!”

This statement bothers me a little. From what I've read it doesn't seem
to be a germ line insertion, so they should know already if it "breeds true".
posted by the Real Dan at 11:02 AM on October 24, 2008


Human: "CAN'T SLEEP, GLOWING CAT WILL EAT ME"

Cat: "CAN'T SLEEP, FLUORESCENT NIGHT-LIGHT MAKES THE INSIDES OF MY EYES GLOW ALL THE TIME"
posted by Rhaomi at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


poor kitty. i bet the green glowing protein in its eyes is blinding it.
posted by thoughtslut at 9:03 PM on October 24, 2008


The opening lines of the TodayShow.com story make no sense to me whatsoever:

For brightness, glowworms got nothing on Mr. Green Genes. And for fright factor, neither do black cats. The 6-month-old feline may look like a standard-issue orange tabby in the comfort of daylight, but he turns a ghoulish shade of fluorescent green under the shroud of darkness! But there’s no need to get spooked; Mr. Green Genes is not a ghastly creation out of a Halloween horror story.

This implies that it would make sense to be disturbed by Frankencat's Monster here if he were fictional, but since he's a real cat, the reader should take the news calmly. This is an inversion of most people's experience, isn't it? Don't we comfort children who are frightened by scary imaginary things by telling them that they're imaginary? A statement that translates to "Don't be concerned; this really is humans playing God, not some made-up Stephen King nonsense," strikes me as very, very odd, if not downright Orwellian.
posted by cirocco at 9:16 AM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel like homunculus adding information to a dead thread here, but there are questions here that went unanswered.

Previous fluorescent kitty post on MeFi.


1. First glow-in-the-dark cat in the U.S.. Where else have they been doing this?
If I recall correctly, the first fluorescent cats (green not red) were cloned in Korea. But click through to the link I posted (it's also one of the 'Previously' links at the top)

2. Are we really so blase about cloning after such a short time that it's become the most pedestrian part of this story? Seriously?
I think it's more a case of the media typically not understanding anything they're reporting on, and/or dumbing down stories to keep the masses ignorant. It's harder to grab attention with sensationalist science stories if the public actually understands what's going on.

Can someone involved in genetic research explain whether this cat is actually part of a legitimate test to see if cloning is possible with cats, or if it's just a marketing technique to suggest future capabilities of the technology to funders?

I can understand the possibility that cloning could be an extremely valuable tool toward saving endangered species. But I can't understand how the choice of this particular gene has much to do with that, let alone diabetes research.

1. To perform cloning, you take a cell from one cat, and transfer the DNA into an egg obtained from another cat, and implant them into a third cat to gestate. You have to prove that the kitten you produce is not just the cat that could have developed from the donated egg, or a natural child of the surrogate mother. There are various ways to prove this, but one of the easiest is to introduce a fluorescent marker to the cells before you transfer the nuclei to the eggs; if the kitties are fluorescent they must be cloned and not just the progeny of either the egg donor or the surrogate mother. With mice, you might also do this by transferring DNA from a mouse with black fur into a mother with white fur; I don't know if this is possible with cats. This next bit is icky: you might also need to make sure that the WHOLE cat is made from the cloned cells, rather than coming from a mixture of cloned and donor- or mother-derived tissue. For this you need a marker for ALL the cells, and an added fluorescent gene is definitely a good way to do it. Warning: This picture is gross, and may be upsetting as it contains dissected dead kitties, but it is from the paper describing the red fluorescent cats from Korea. Here is the example of how you prove that the whole cat is (a) cloned and (b) normally developed. (I believe they dissected stillborn siblings for this picture rather than killing kittens in order to dissect them; I like to think that the live born cats are alive and well in loving homes).

2. I'm not entirely sure what the point of cloning genetically modified cats is in the first place, but if you want to develop the technology to insert genes of any kind into a cloned cat, then fluorescent protein genes are absolutely the way go because it is so easy to see that your experiment has worked. In addition to showing that you have made your genetically engineered cat, you will also want to be able to control where the gene you have introduced is active, and where it is not. If you are into diabetes, I would guess that the next step might be to make cats where the GFP is only active in the pancreas or something. Or maybe a green cat with a red pancreas. That would demonstrate that you can make a cloned cat in which you can activate any gene you choose in the particular tissue you are interested. THEN instead of red fluorescent protein, you might wish to introduce a gene having something to do with insulin or something like that into the pancreas (I know almost nothing about diabetes research) and start doing something useful. Even then, you would probably be using fluorescent markers to show that you were activating genes in the tissues want to activate them in, and not elsewhere.

(Note added in proof: these fluorescent proteins don't harm the cats; if you were to jump in trying to work with actual important cat genes straight off the bat, I'd imagine you'd get a lot of dead cats without knowing exactly what you'd done to them. That's why you develop the technology first, and only then try to do stuff with it.)

So although there is an element of showmanship in making fluorescent animals, it really is the easiest and most practical way of developing the technologies to do stuff with genes. As the recent Nobel Prize has highlighted, we do this stuff every day when we are just trying to do our routine work, and not just to try to get on the Today show.

1. We just did something with Genes
2. Genes are involved with Diabetes
3. If we can do more stuff with Genes, we can cure diabetes

This just doesn't add up. Now, I recognise that it's hard to explain the merits of research to the public, but at what point does it become misleading?


I hope I have made it look more like this:

1. Genes are involved with Diabetes.
2. If we can learn how to manipulate genes in the right way, we can cure diabetes.
3. OK, here's a start; we have developed the technology to do stuff with genes; now let's do this stuff with the genes that can cure diabetes.

I would be grateful to have someone involved in this kind of research explain.

I hope you see this, and that it was helpful! Now I have to get back to my fluorescent fruit flies.
posted by nowonmai at 10:13 AM on October 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the follow-up nowonmai. I saw the questions, and was going to answer, in much less detail than you, but was a bit busy over the weekend. Thanks for writing the above.

I favorited the question, so hopefully he'll come back to see why.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 AM on October 27, 2008


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