Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute — the animal research centre where Dolly the sheep was created — have used CRISPR gene editing to develop chickens that resist infection by bird flu, a disease that has decimated some wild bird populations and commercial poultry flocks across the world. But there are serious risks and limitations in the research, which were even indicated by the scientists involved but were largely ignored or downplayed by mainstream media outlets.
A press statement by the Roslin called the gene-edited chickens a “significant step in bird flu fight” and said, “Alterations to key gene associated with infection offer partial protection and suggest [a] path to flu-resistant poultry”. The findings are published in Nature Communications.
The Roslin reported that the scientists used gene-editing techniques to identify and change parts of chicken DNA that could limit the spread of avian flu in the birds. The bird flu virus needs a protein present in chicken cells, ANP32A, to...