Normally I wouldn't comment on a story like this. But you'll know why soon.
It seems have Taiwanese researchers have made green pigs, they glow green in the dark. This is due to the addition of green fluorescent protein, or GFP. Now, GFP has been used for years to track other proteins, you attach to your protein of interest, and you can keep track of it very easily because it will glow green. Now, I'm not sure of the specifics in this case, I'd have to read the paper, but the researchers managed to put the GFP in some pigs, and now they glow green in the dark. They say they'll use them to track tissue development and such. I think that's a pretty neat idea, especially if they did it in such a way as the GFP is only expressed in certain tissues, you could really get some insights into total development. This is all well and good in my mind.
The part that ticks me off is the comment at the bottom. Somebody (actually, Marie-Andrée Michaud from Hudson), thinks that somehow making pigs glow green using GFP is causing them pain and suffering. I'm assuming she thinks that they are in pain, as that is the only thing I can think of that would cause them suffering. However, in no way would GFP cause them pain. I can't think of any other kind of suffering she could be talking about. In fact, I bet the pigs like it because they can see at night without any other lights (if pigs can see green light that is, I don't know). I'm betting that Marie know's nothing about modern molecular biology, or even what the protein does. She just assumed that the pigs glow green, they must somehow be in pain.
Unfortunately, I think this is part of the problem with society and science. There are so many people who think that all of science is bad, or causes suffering. Unfortunately, science is all about what you do with the knowledge you gain. Any, and I mean any, research can be used for harm if someone really wants to. The best way to keep science from being used for ill use is to have an educated public, not one fed on horror stories from the government and media.
To keep this short (as short as possible now), GFP is a protein (series of amino acids all linked together) that has a chemical group that causes it to emit green light when UV or blue lightis shone on it. The protein is naturally found in some jellyfish, probably as a way for them to attract fish to catch or something (just guessing here, but sounds plausible). It doesn't cause them any harm, and GFP has been used for years in molecular biology as a research tool. There are even zebrafish now bred with GFP in them, that turn colors and glow in the dark. These were originally used for research, but are now sold as pets. So, I hope no one after reading this will think the pigs in the original article are suffering. It's just another application of some research that has been around for years.Science / Tech News_