Nav: Home

Egg-free surrogate chickens produced in bid to save rare breeds

February 17, 2017

Hens that do not produce their own chicks have been developed for use as surrogates to lay eggs from rare breeds.

The advance -- using gene-editing techniques -- could help to boost breeding of endangered birds, as well as improving production of commercial hens, researchers say.

A team led by the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute used a genetic tool called TALEN to delete a section of chicken DNA.

They targeted part of a gene called DDX4, which is crucial for bird fertility.

Hens with the genetic modification were unable to produce eggs but were otherwise healthy, the team found.

DDX4 plays an essential role in the generation of specialised cells -- called primordial germ cells -- which give rise to eggs.

Researchers say that donor primordial germ cells from other breeds could be implanted into the gene-edited chickens as they are developing inside an egg. The surrogate hens would then grow up to produce eggs containing all of the genetic information from the donor breeds.

The surrogate chickens are the first gene-edited birds to be produced in Europe. Scientists from the US biotechnology company Recombinetics also worked on the project.

The study is published in the journal Development and was funded by strategic investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Lead researcher Dr Mike McGrew, of the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, said: "These chickens are a first step in saving and protecting rare poultry breeds from loss in order to preserve future biodiversity of our poultry from both economic and climate stresses."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Biotechnology Articles:

The end of biotechnology as we know it
More than 400 attendees from five continents discussed trends and improvements in biotechnology at the European Summit of Industrial Biotechnology (ESIB) in Graz/Austria and talked many topics like a dehumanized research process.
Biotechnology: A growing field in the developing world
A detailed new report surveys a broad cross-section of biotechnology work across developing countries, revealing steady growth in fields tied to human well-being worldwide.
China releases first report on biotechnology in developing countries
The first report on biotechnology in developing countries revealing an overall picture of their biotechnology growth and competitiveness was released on Nov.
Exclusive: Biotechnology leaders surveyed about impact of Trump presidency
The day following the election of Donald J. Trump as President, a survey of leaders in biotechnology in the United States, conducted by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News showed that Trump's presidency will negatively impact NIH research funding as well as STEM education; a plurality said it will also spark a 'brain drain' as foreign-born researchers educated in American universities will be more likely to leave.
Novel 'repair system' discovered in algae may yield new tools for biotechnology
The algae C. reinhardtii uses a novel system for releasing an interrupting sequence from a protein -- a technique that may be useful for protein purification.
ESIB -- European Summit of Industrial Biotechnology 2016
'Design' will be the guiding thread of the 2½ days ESIB 2016 which will cover trends in biotech science and industry, cascade design and metabolic engineering, designing nature (e.g. proteins for competitive bioprocesses), in-silico approaches in modern industrial biotechnology, networking opportunities and much more.
Werner Siemens Foundation fosters synthetic biotechnology
With its donation of 11.5 million euro, the Werner Siemens Foundation has facilitated the launch of the teaching and research domain Synthetic Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
Sanyal Biotechnology LLC announces strategic partnership with OWL Metabolomics, S.L.
Sanyal Biotechnology LLC and One Way Liver S.L. (OWL Metabolomics) have initiated a strategic partnership to provide increased value and additional R&D services to basic research and the pharmaceutical industry, announced at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
ASU researcher improves crop performance with new biotechnology
Researchers with Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences have discovered a way to enhance a plant's tolerance to stress, which in turn improves how it uses water and nutrients from the soil.
New biotechnology to inhibit microRNA activity and novel applications
Today at the 45th Annual Meeting & Exhibition of the American Association for Dental Research, researcher Brad Amendt, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA, will present a study titled 'New Biotechnology to Inhibit MicroRNA Activity and Novel Applications for Craniofacial and Dental Research.'

Related Biotechnology Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".