Rabu, 19 Januari 2011

Transgenic Chickens Resist Bird Flu

By inserting a small piece of DNA into chickens that interferes with bird flu viral replication, scientists have developed transgenic chickens that are genetically resistant to infection by the bird flu virus. The inserted DNA fragment blocks a key enzyme required by the bird flu virus for replication of its RNA. Transgenic chickens exposed directly to the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus still get the flu and die, but they don’t pass it on to other birds in the flock. From an economic point of view, losing a few chickens is a lot less damaging than having to destroy a whole flock to try to prevent the spread of the disease. Flu-resistant transgenic chickens might also reduce the risk of a bird flu pandemic among humans some day.

Flocks of transgenic flu-resistant chickens could be widely available within a couple of years. That’s IF regulators decide that they and their eggs are safe to eat, and IF the public accepts them. Both are big “IF”s.

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