by Mark Aragona
Cloning takes a turn for the bizarre when South Korean scientists breed Tegon, a female who beagle that glows in the dark. Born in 2009, Tegon was created by a research team in Seoul National University (SNU) through the same cloning technique they used to make the first cloned dog, Snuppy, back in 2005.
The research team reports that they can even turn Tegon’s peculiar ability on and off by adding drugs to her food. When Tegon ingests doxycycline antibiotic, she glows fluorescent green when held under ultra-violet light.
How is this an advancement for science, you ask? It’s not meant so that owners can find their dogs in the dark. Lead researcher Lee Byeong-chun explains that Tegon can potentially help in the search for treatments against deadly diseases.
“The creation of Tegon opens new horizons since the gene injected to make the dog glow can be substituted with genes that trigger fatal human diseases,” says Lee. He goes on to add that humans and dogs share 268 diseases. By using cloning techniques, they can better understand degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s by injecting the gene in a dog, then studying how to cure it.
Tegon did not come cheap, though: it took four years and about $3,000,000 to produce this superdog. And what medical benefits she can lend us have yet to be seen.