First GM chickens resistant to bird flu created

by Jasmina Nikoloska

The journal Science published a study of genetically modified [GM] chickens that are resistant to bird flu.

According to the researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, this achievement could stop bird flu from spreading and possibly reduce the risk of bird flu epidemics that could lead to flu virus epidemics in humans.

The researchers believe that the technology has the potential to create a variety of GM farm animals resistant to viral diseases.

They think that the genetic modification they have introduced is harmless to the chickens as well to people who might eat the birds and possibly it could an alternative to vaccination.
As the researchers explained, they inserted an artificial gene into chickens, which diverts an enzyme crucial for transmitting the H5N1 strain. Still the birds get sick and eventually die but they didn’t pass on that virus to other chickens.

Although the technology offers a benefit, British public is sceptical over GM food and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) should conduct a full detailed safety evaluation before any of this GM produce could enter the market.
And Tim Elsdale, who is an organic farmer in East Sussex, told BBC News that it was better to adopt good farming practices to avoid animals getting diseases in the first place than to create GM farm animals.

On the other hand human population is growing rapidly and eventually feeding the world is going to be a real problem.

Written By Jasmina Nikoloska

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