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Mayo Clinic Teams With ‘Glowing Cats’ To Fight AIDS

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(credit: Mayo Clinic)

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — A team of Mayo Clinic researchers have developed a somewhat unusual strategy to fight feline AIDS and shed some light on how to combat the human virus.

According to a release sent out Sunday, the team of researchers are using a technique called gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis, which essentially inserts a gene known to block cell infection with a jellyfish gene for tracking purposes. The result? An offspring of green-glowing cats.

The goal is to create cats with an immunity to the feline AIDS virus.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes AIDS in cats, much like the HIV virus does for humans. In this research, a gene that’s known to block the FIV cell infection is inserted into a feline’s eggs before the sperm fertilization.

Along with the jellyfish gene, which provides the glow, researchers say this method is highly efficient at showing the success of inserting genes.

The research will not be used directly for treating people with HIV or cats with FIV, but it will help medical (and veterinary) researchers understand how restriction factors can be used in gene therapy for AIDS, caused by either virus.

For more information about this study, click here.

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