Could Glowing Cats Cure AIDS?

Have you ever had a thought that glowing cats are the solution to AIDS? Yeah, neither has anyone else. But, it’s seems we all lack imagination. Because there are cats that have been genetically engineered to glow in the dark, and they are being researched for possible cure to AIDS. So, here’s Could Glowing Cats Cure AIDS?

What’s Going on With These Kitties?

There were tests done by Dr Eric Poeschla and his team, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, to study HIV in cats. According to Dr Eric Poeschla: “HIV mostly affects feral cats, of which there are about half a billion in the world.” Cats often infect each other by fighting and biting.

This group of scientists have inserted a gene into the cats that they were studying that helps them resist a feline form of AIDS. And here’s where things get interesting.

They also inserted another gene that makes them glow. This gene produces a fluorescent protein called GFP.

This particular protein is naturally produced by jellyfish. And it’s commonly used to research altered genes. This is done to mark cells so they are easily seen under a microscope.

Origin of the Anti-Viral Gene

A genetically modified glowing kitten.

The antiviral gene comes from rhesus macaque – a monkey! It produces a protein called a restriction factor which helps this primate to resist HIV viruses. The same protein does the same for other animals.

Teams from US and Japan transferred this and the glow-inducing GFP genes into cat eggs, called oocytes. Almost all of the offspring of these modified eggs had restriction factor genes. Also, these proteins were distributed all throughout the bodies of these cats.

Researches found out that feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) – feline Aids virus had significantly reduced replication rates in these genetically modified glowing cats. During this study, only three genetically modified glowing cats were produced.

FIV in cats, works just like HIV in humans, it wipes out immune system’s guardians – T-cells.

In humans and cats, proteins called restriction factors, that normally fight off viruses, are almost defenseless against these AIDS inducing viruses. That’s because they have evolved to effectively fight and kill T-Cells.

As of now, only cells themselves were tested and they’ve proven to be resistant to FIV. However, there are plans to introduce the virus to cats themselves and see how their bodies react.


The bottom line is that this research performed on cats could potentially help to prevent, treat or cure AIDS or HIV in humans. One of the possible ways to do so is by introducing this gene into infected people. This would potentially making their bodies fight this disease off. Hopefully this answers the can glowing cats be the cure of AIDS.

If you’d like to learn more about cats, here’s a link to an article.

If you’d like to learn more about glowing cats, here’s an article from a different website.

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