Alba, the fluorescent bunny
Alba the Glow-in-the-Dark Rabbit
Photo: Chrystelle Fontaine
Alba is a rabbit that was genetically created in 2000 for artist Eduardo Kac by French geneticist Louis-Marie Houdebine with the GFP gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and the sea pansy that fluoresces green when exposed to blue light, and when Alba was exposed to such light she would literally glow green. Eduardo Kac describes Alba as an animal that does not exist in nature. In an article published in the Boston Globe (Cook, Gareth. "Cross hare: hop and glow", Boston Globe, 9/17/2000, p. A01.), Houdebine admitted creating Alba for Kac and stated that Alba has a particularly mellow and sweet disposition. This article generated a global media scandal, which caused Houdebine to distance himself from Kac's work. All subsequent media articles present variations on Houdebine's disengagement effort. The lifespan of Alba is an open question. She may or may not be dead. In 2002 a US reporter called INRA (France), where Houdebine works, and was told that Alba had died. The reporter published an article stating that Alba was dead but the only evidence she provided was this quote: "I was informed one day that bunny was dead without any reason" (Kristen Philipkoski, “RIP: Alba, the Glowing Bunny”, Wired News, Aug, 12, 2002). Rabbits can live up 12 years but often do not in captivity.