Genetically modified chickens lay cancer-treating eggs

2-3-2019 chicken hen
Image credit: Pixabay

Researchers have genetically modified chickens that can lay eggs that contain drugs for arthritis and some cancers. The drugs are 100 times cheaper to produce when laid than when manufactured in factories.

The researchers believe that in time production can be scaled up to produce medicines in commercial quantities. The chickens do not suffer and are “pampered” compared to farm animals, according to Dr Lissa Herron, of Roslin Technologies in Edinburgh.

Scientists have previously shown that genetically modified goats, rabbits and chickens can be used to produce protein therapies in their milk or eggs. The researchers say their new approach is more efficient, produces better yields and is more cost-effective than these previous attempts.

Related article:  Game of chance: What role does pure 'bad luck' play in developing cancer?

Dr Herron and her colleagues managed to reduce the costs by inserting a human gene – which normally produces the protein in humans – into the part of the chickens’ DNA involved with producing the white in the chickens’ eggs.

After cracking the eggs and separating the white from the yolk, Dr Herron discovered that the chicken had relatively large quantities of the protein.

Three eggs are enough to produce a dose of the drug, and chickens can lay up to 300 eggs per year. With enough chickens, the researchers believe they can produce drugs in commercial quantities.

Read full, original post: The GM chickens that lay eggs with anti-cancer drugs

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