Breakthrough: Transgenic Chicken Blocks H5N1 Flu Spread

By Michael Ricciardi,

A transgenic chicken has been developed that blocks transmission of the avian flu to other chickens. The new technique — some aspects of which are not clear even to the geneticists developing it — holds out great promise for preventing human illness as well as unnecessary animal deaths. But nothing is quite that simple when it comes to the genetic “tinkering” of plants and animals; disease resistance is not always enough to overcome public resistance.

Geneticists have been experimenting with animals by slightly altering their genes and cellular chemistry for nearly 50 years. Over that time, attempts have been made to confer resistance to disease onto the very animals that carry that disease. Since the outbreak of H5N1 (avian flu) one decade ago (and several other animal viruses since then), the impetus to develop new techniques to accomplished this has increased.

Read more here.