Thursday, January 13, 2011

World's first flu-proof chickens


After genetically modified fruits and vegetables, it is the turn of genetically modified (GM) poultry. UK scientists claim they have created the world's first genetically modified chickens that do not spread bird flu.

The team of scientists from Edinburgh University claim it is possible to create a variety of GM farm animals resistant to viral diseases.

The research team inserted an artificial gene into chickens; this introduces a tiny part of the bird flu virus into chicken cells. These birds become infected but render the virus harmless to other poultry.

The team believes that the genetic modification they have introduced is harmless to the chickens and to people who might eat the birds.
According to Professor Helen Sang of Edinburgh University, genetic modification is potentially a much better way of protecting against diseases than vaccination because the GM technique works even if the virus mutates.

"It will protect a whole flock from avian influenza infection. This is really exciting because bird flu is a real challenge to poultry production and if it were introduced to poultry breeding, it would protect our large scale production flocks from avian influenza," said Professor Sang.