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Bizarre Genetically Engineered Creations: Glow-In-The-Dark Cats, Venomous Cabbages, Web-Spinning Goats And More (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 11/30/10 08:17 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET

From Mother Nature Network's Laura Moss:

Glow-in-the-dark cats? It may sound like science fiction, but they've been around for years. Cabbages that produce scorpion poison? It's been done. Oh, and the next time you need a vaccine, the doctor might just give you a banana.

These and many other genetically modified organisms exist today because their DNA has been altered and combined with other DNA to create an entirely new set of genes. You may not realize it, but many of these genetically modified organisms are a part of your daily life -- and your daily diet. Today, 45 percent of U.S. corn and 85 percent of U.S. soybeans are genetically engineered, and it's estimated that 70 to 75 percent of processed foods on grocery store shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Here's a look at the some of the weirdest genetically engineered plants and animals already in existence -- and many that are coming your way soon.

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Glow-in-the-dark cats
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In 2007, South Korean scientists altered a cat’s DNA to make it glow in the dark and then took that DNA and cloned other cats from it — creating a set of fluffy, fluorescent felines. Here’s how they did it: The researchers took skin cells from Turkish Angora female cats and used a virus to insert genetic instructions for making red fluorescent protein. Then they put the gene-altered nuclei into the eggs for cloning, and the cloned embryos were implanted back into the donor cats — making the cats the surrogate mothers for their own clones.

What’s the point of creating a pet that doubles as a nightlight? Scientists say the ability to engineer animals with fluorescent proteins will enable them to artificially create animals with human genetic diseases.
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