back to article Science of the lambs: Boffins grow GLOW-IN-THE-DARK sheep

Shepherds who watch their flocks by night could soon have a much easier job: South American scientists have successfully reared fluorescent sheep. Boffins at the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay implanted a glow-in-the-dark gene from the Aequorea victoria jellyfish into nine of the woolly animals. The bright-minded …


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  1. James 51

    I wonder if this could be used in future to effectively tag sheep. Yes officer, those are my sheep he rustled (shines torch).

    1. Tiny Iota
      Thumb Up

      I’m really glad you only went with “rustled”

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        "rustled" or...???

        A UV-torch shone on some *ahem* "rustled" sheep might show you more glowing patches than you might be willing to see

    2. Don Jefe

      Probably not. All the 'glo-animals' are validation of experimental modification techniques; glowing is not the goal itself. The idea is that if the animal does is fact glow then the new genetic material has successfully been introduced into the gonads & future generations will pass along the material. If they glow then you can begin introducing other non-visible modifications with the confidence the changes will carry on.

      On a side note, my wife is Uruguayan and we are going to visit in July. I'm going to try & visit the lab and get some pics with the sheep while we are there. My brother-in-law is involved in the project so I think I can get it done.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      You don't need your sheep to glow, in order to identify them. You just read the baaa code.

      Shamefacedly wanders off to get coat...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is yours the woollen, hi-vis coat?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll bet that someone will create a Youtube video showing a herd of these glow-in-the-dark sheep running across the fields with shepherds running after them and the song 'ghost riders in the sky' being played.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Not the shepherds shouting, "Benton! Benton! Oh Jesus!"...

  2. Geoff Campbell

    This is going to make...

    ...being pissed in the countryside after closing time a whole heap more surreal.


    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: This is going to make...

      Only if you bring your own UV torch with you

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: This is going to make...

        Doesn't everyone?


        1. Annihilator Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: This is going to make...

          Touché! :-)

  3. Ian Yates
    Thumb Up


    How do I upvote the article tagline?

    1. John Arthur
      Thumb Up

      Re: +1

      My sentiments exactly. The thought of the El Reg hacks sitting in the pub/office thinking up lines like this makes my day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: +1

        I also loved the tagline. +1. Well done.

      2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: +1

        "The thought of the El Reg hacks sitting in the pub/office thinking up lines like this makes my day."

        :-) It's sorta like the way the New York Post is portrayed in this vid.


        1. brooxta

          Re: +1

          Yet another headline, produced under incredible pressure, is comedy gold :-)

  4. William Donelson

    NOT glow in the dark - you need UV. NOT DARK.

    Stupid headline AGAIN.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: NOT glow in the dark - you need UV. NOT DARK.

      So IOW, they're FLUORescent not PHOSPHORescent.

  5. Tanuki
    Thumb Up

    I have a cunning plan. It involves selling UV floodlights to the local wolves.

  6. wowfood

    So wait

    Do the bodies of the sheep glow? Or does the wool glow. Because if it's the wool that could lead to a whole new line of wooly rave ware.

    1. Ru

      Re: So wait

      Just the skin, as far as I'm aware. You may recall a recent brouhaha over glowing bunnies... the real thing woudl have glowing skin but not fur, and the pictures of the supposed glowing bunnies showed an even all-over glow. Have a look at the (hopefully) relevant wikipedia page:

      I'm assuming that the protein is either not expressed by follicle cells, or is not stable over the long term so any fluorescence in hair would only appear at the very base, and older parts of the hair would appear boring and normal.

      1. 100113.1537

        Re: So wait

        It is hard for the GFP protein to take the correct fluorescent structure when it is not inside the cell so I don't think you can do fluoro-wool using this method. You can see on the piccies that the green only shows up in skin where there is little wool.

        It's a great marker protein to look at control of gene expression 'cos you don't need any other chemicals to see where it is and it pretty much stays in the cell where it is expressed. You can get other modifications that emit different colours (blues and reds), but I don't think anyone has that good control over gene expression to make pretty pictures with them all - yet....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "not the traditional breeding system [...] very much loved"

    Hmm... that's an interesting way of wording it...

    We should be protecting traditional breeding systems!


  8. Code Monkey

    Impressive bofinry but where's my flying car, damnit?

  9. wolfetone
    Thumb Down

    Roast Lamb

    Guaranteed to give you glow in the dark shit anyway...

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Roast Lamb

      The lamb from my local kebab shop does that already

  10. TiggerUK

    This seems familiar.....

    Dr Sheldon Cooper did it first in the Big Bang Theory! =)

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: This seems familiar.....

      And other boffins did it before him in white mice, and evolution (or $deity_of_choice) did it millions of years ago in various marine life.

  11. JDX Gold badge

    "very much loved"

    Oh yeah?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rave on!

    So, when McCloud takes his "date" to the rave....

    (As Mike Jagger said to the Scotsman: "Hey! McCloud! Get offa my ewe!")

    1. Elmer Phud
      Thumb Up

      Re: Rave on!


  13. Bigus1234

    Saving the extras.

    Now they have changed the colour, if they can make them taste a little minty then we have "Ready Mint Sauced Lambs" - how about that for a cash saver (just don't mention the additional chemicals or higher chance of food poisioning).

    Also, this ensures you are getting lamb and not horse. Not a good thing for Findus but good for the customers :-)

  14. samlebon23

    What's next?

    What's next? Talking sheep? "Four legs good, two legs better!"

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: What's next?

      Beware of "that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep"*.

      *Monty Python

  15. teebie

    Ooh, that's handy

  16. nuked

    “The technique is complex and demands much work, which is one of the limiting factors. So despite the global interest and demand it is still a slow process," Menchaca continued.


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are ultraviolet visors or whatever you use significantly cheaper than infra-red one's? Otherwise what's the point? It must cost money to gentically engineer these sheep, putting the costs up. And surely you can't use ultraviolet vision to find your sheep when they're buried in snow!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, how long until UV-glowing humans are available? I mean, it sounds like they've debugged the process on monkeys, rabbits, and sheep, so it should be ready for human trials.


  19. E 2

    Next up...

    Wolves that shoot ultraviolet rays from their eyeballs!

  20. Anonymous Coward


    last time i checked, sheep were somewhat "wooly"

    As this technique makes only the skin glow, as far as herding and locating sheep, seems to be a bit of a non starter...

    Easier to find a lamb butty in the dark though...

  21. Turtle

    That logo...

    That logo or whatever it is correctly called, at the bottom of the video, is *extremely* intrusive.

  22. Gruntfuttock

    Do mechanoids dream of fluorescent sheep?

  23. The Prevaricator

    I can't believe...

    ... nobody's asked whether this affects their speed in a vacuum.

    Nope. Just me then?

  24. Pete the not so great
    Thumb Up

    is this....

    A viable replacement for lightbulbs?

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