Fluorescent dogs 2.0 (with switch ON/OFF)

Do you remember Ruppy, the red fluorescent puppy? The same team just described a new transgenic dog, this time with inducible fluorescence. The principle is always the TetON/TetOFF. According to the paper publised on Genesis, compared to mice, in dogs you need 10 less the dose of doxycycline (per chilogram) to switch ON the canine GFP, as determined by analyzing GFP expression in several organs. It is less clear how they took the organs: in the previous paper they said that one dog died due to chronic bronchopneumonia, but this time they skip commenting on.
Inducible fluorescence in transgenic dog foot pads
This study does not make dogs easier to spot at night, so fewer will get hit by cars, but illustrates the possibility to obtain conditional expression of a given gene in dogs, after administration of the drug doxycicline (the switch ON). This could be helpful for the generation of dog models of dominant genetic diseases (i.e., by inserting the disease gene). Honestly, I have some problems to think at dogs as 'research tools'. However, the proof of technology described in this paper could be useful on other fields. I'm thinking at the interface between man and dog relations, what about dogs with super-noses to better alert avalanche victims, gas spills or truffles (i.e., using olfactory receptor genes from other species that are less social like fruitflies)? This could made biomedical research useful for the society on branches other than the healthcare.


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Kim, M., Oh, H., Park, J., Kim, G., Hong, S., Jang, G., Kwon, M., Koo, B., Kim, T., Kang, S., Ra, J., Ko, C., & Lee, B. (2011). Generation of transgenic dogs that conditionally express green fluorescent protein genesis DOI: 10.1002/dvg.20737