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Fluorescent Pet Mice Available for Retail

Posted: Friday, March 20, 2009

neon miceRed, yellow, blue, green—these are not the first colors one might think of when envisioning mice. But one company, NeonPets LLC, of San Francisco is trying to change that.

NeonPets debuted a rainbow of fluorescent pet mice called NeonMice at Global Pet Expo in February. While they don’t look much different from ordinary mice in regular light, NeonMice appear to “glow” when placed under a black light.

NeonPets owner Christopher Dean said NeonMice were produced in a laboratory by inserting fluorescent genes, originally extracted from jellyfish and reef coral, into mice embryos. Afterward, the embryos were inserted into female mice in a process similar to in vitro fertilization, he said. The fluorescent gene then is inherited naturally through breeding.

Dean said genetically modified mice are relatively common in biology labs where fluorescent proteins are used as genetic markers. He said it’s a safe, pain-free procedure that he likens to the selective breeding of dogs or any other animal, “except that it’s just for this particular color, which comes from a different animal.” He noted that genetically modified fluorescent fish have been available to the public for several years.

NeonPets only offers sterile male mice for retail. The mice come with or without hair, which is the only part of the mouse’s body that does not “glow.”

According to the company, NeonMice are as healthy as ordinary mice and will not cause an animal to suffer deleterious effects if ingested. However, Dean said the mice are not meant to serve as feeders. <HOME>

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