‘SURROGATE’ HENS BRED TO LAY OTHER CHICKENS’ EGGS
What did they do?
A team at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute used gene-editing tools to knock out the DDX4 part of hens’ genomes to create hens that are unable to produce their own eggs but are otherwise healthy.
Why did they do that?
For the next step, the researchers want to implant the hens with primordial germ cells – cells that lead to the production of eggs – from other breeds of chicken, enabling them to produce eggs of this other breed.
What do they want to do that for?
In the short term, the researchers hope that the technique can be used to protect rare breeds of poultry, but it could also be used to breed hens that can lay the eggs of other bird species in a bid to help conservation efforts.