‘SUR­RO­GATE’ HENS BRED TO LAY OTHER CHICK­ENS’ EGGS

Focus-Science and Technology - - Dis­cov­er­ies -

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.

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