Mr. Green Genes is the first fluorescent cat in the United States, said Betsy Dresser, the center’s director.
The researchers made him so they could learn whether a gene could be introduced harmlessly into the feline’s genetic sequence to create what is formally known as a transgenic cat. If so, it would be the first step in a process that could lead to the development of ways to combat diseases via gene therapy.
The gene, which was added to Mr. Green Genes’ DNA when he was created earlier this year in the Audubon center’s laboratory, has no effect on his health, Dresser said.
Cats are ideal for this project because their genetic makeup is similar to that of humans, said Dr. Martha Gomez, a veterinarian and staff scientist at the center.