That's not a tabloid headline, folks... the cute piggies shown below are part of a new genetics experiment, and while they look like perfectly normal pigs in daylight, they also glow in the dark.
Photo: University of Hawaii
According to the L.A. Times this experiment, conducted at South China Agricultural University, is just one of many similar tests around the world in which scientists add a foreign gene to the DNA of a mammal in a process called “active transgenesis.” In these cases, the donor gene comes from a jellyfish that produces a luminescent protein. When it was introduced into the DNA chain of mammal embryos, a portion of the offspring gained the jellyfish's glow-in-the-dark trait.
Bear in mind that as trippy and awesome as this might look, it's actually a practical experiment: transgenesis could soon allow scientists to introduce genes that produce specialized proteins for use in medicines, including the blood-clotting enzymes used to treat patients with hemophilia. The glow created for this particular experiment just shows that the process can work.
Other successful experiments have resulted in glow-in-the-dark cats, rabbits and even sheep.
[Note: according to a statement from the University, the pigs in the clip below are not being harmed; they're just afraid of the dark. Seriously.]