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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Introducing: Chickens that won't spread bird flu virus

The attached YouTube video shows a new breed of chickens that will not transmit the virus that causes avian flu.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom have developed genetically modified chickens that do not have the capability of spreading bird flu virus within poultry flocks.
This new innovation will prevent flu outbreaks and decrease the risk of epidemics.
Although the affected chickens can still die of the disease, they cannot transmit the pathogen that is known to cause the influenza.
The researchers introduced a gene that makes a "decoy" molecule, which imitates a vital control part of the virus to develop the non-transmitting chickens.
The said molecule stops the multiplication of the virus.
This interesting breakthrough is published in the journal Science on 14 January.
Dr. Laurence Tiley, senior lecturer in molecular virology in the veterinary medicine department at the University of Cambridge, said, "Chickens are potential bridging hosts that can enable new strains of flu to be transmitted to humans. Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people exposed to the infected birds."
Tiley added, "The genetic modification we describe is a significant first step along the path to developing chickens that are completely resistant to avian [bird] flu. These particular birds are only intended for research purposes, not for consumption."
The video also shows the possibility of using the same procedure to curb swine flu.
Visit this link for more details.

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