17 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Sherlock

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Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Hounds of Baskerville’ – glow in the dark rabbit not included. (Photo: BBC)

“The Hounds of Baskerville” Didn’t Make Up Glow in the Dark Rabbits

One of the major plot points in Sherlock’s Season 2 episode “The Hounds of Baskerville” involves a government research lab and a rabbit named Bluebell that glows in the dark. (If you don’t know why this is important, just go with it, and watch the show’s second season as soon as you have a free minute.)

But lest you think this is just a trendy plot device, it’s not. Glow in the dark rabbits are real. They’re not exactly common (at the moment there appear to be only two). But, the show didn’t just make this idea or the science behind it up out of whole cloth. Back in 2013, scientists at the University of Hawaii collaborated with a team from Istanbul, Turkey on a genetic mutation experiment. Several rabbit embryos were injected with a phosphorescent protein from jellyfish DNA, giving them the “glowing gene” that makes them light up under a black light. (They’re so bright!)

So far, these little Bluebells-in-training only glow. But researchers are hopeful that these rabbits, and others like them, will help in the development of gene therapies. They may also shed light on hereditary diseases or lead to new methods to produce medicines. And don’t worry – none of these experiments hurt the rabbits. They should both live long and healthy lives, despite their slightly neon state.

Maybe one day they can help solve crimes, too.