By Robin Scherbatsky
It’s the 21st century and everyone knows the most relevant subject of our time is cats. Everyone knows the Internet is for cats. Nothing else, just cats. Cats are fun, cats are cute, and cats have the ability to improve the quality of any day. But, apart from providing us with incredibly corny chemistry jokes, cats can’t provide the science field with any important contributions right?
The Mayo Clinic has done some interesting research which uses felines as test subjects for extensive research on AIDs, an immunodeficiency disease that has already taken lives of millions. If that wasn’t interesting enough, these cats glow in the dark.
Bioluminescence, the ability to emit light, occurs naturally in organisms like jellyfish, insects and fungi. In 1961, Osamu
Shimomura (a Boston University graduate and Nobel Prize winner) and his colleagues, Martin Chalfe and Roger Y. Tsien, isolated the protein responsible for bioluminescence in the jellyfish species Aequorea victoria. This protein is called Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). A non-bioluminescent organism can be genetically modified to emit light if the DNA sequence encoding for GFP is incorporated into its genome. The world is currently facing two devastating AIDS pandemics— one in humans, the other in domestic cats. The virus responsible, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), are highly similar.
"FIV causes AIDS with loss of infection-fighting T cells like HIV does in people, and cats get sick from virtually the same AIDS-defining opportunistic infections as humans who have untreated HIV," said researcher Eric Poeschla, a…