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'Green pig' gives birth to green piglets
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A fluorescent green pig in northeast China has given birth to two piglets which share their mother's transgenic characteristic after she mated with an ordinary pig, Chinese scientists said Tuesday.

"The mouths, trotters and tongues of the two piglets glow green under ultraviolet light, which indicates the technology to breed transgenic pigs via cell nuclear transfer is mature," said Liu Zhonghua, a professor at Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province.

The mother pig is one of the three fluorescent green pigs successfully bred by a research team led by Liu in December 2006 after they injected fluorescent green protein into pig embryos.

She produced 11 piglets Monday but so far only two of them have inherited the fluorescent feature.

Liu said the births meant transgenic pigs were reproductive and part of their transgenic characteristics were inheritable.

"This technology promises to breed excellent transgenic pigs and even raise special pigs to provide organs for human transplant operations in the future," he said.

Chinese scientists bred the pigs successfully using somatic cell nuclear transfer technology following their counterparts in the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2008)


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