June 13, 2019
Bird flu is a serious health risk for both farmed chickens, and in some cases, the disease can spread to humans. Finding a way to contain this disease is of great importance.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London have been able to stop the spread of bird flu in chicken cells in the laboratory. The team used gene editing to delete a section of DNA in the cells that codes for a protein called ANP32A, which gets hijacked by the bird flu virus to replicate.
After deleting the DNA that codes for ANP32A, the team observed that the bird flu virus was no longer able to grow inside the chicken cells. This new technique does not include the introduction of new genetic material to the chicken cells, unlike other studies. No chickens have yet been bred with the DNA deletion, as the researchers need to further investigate if the deletion has any other effects on chicken cells.
Further research will be required to prove the success of this technique, but it does offer hope for a future where farmers could breed gene-edited chickens that are not susceptible to bird flu.
Source: Science Daily
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