Bird flu researchers in Australia are creating genetically modified chickens in an effort to wipe out the disease. Some scientists think the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) project could have massive implications and eradicate avian flu.
H5N1 experts hope the genetically modified chickens will breed bird flu resistant offspring. If the CSIRO project is successful, a new line of poultry immune to the deadly avian flu could soon fill the earth. Researchers involved in the H5N1 project maintain the significance of the so-called super chickens cannot be understated.
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory Director Martyn Jeggo stated that the ongoing project is the first time an animal resistant to a major disease has ever been produced. Dr. Jeggo also said, “If we can do it for one, why the h**l can’t we do it for every disease?”
The Australian scientists discovered RNAi molecules could “switch off” genes in plants to foster larger ears of corn and stronger drought-resistant stalks. The process used in the genetically modified produce created the groundwork used in the bird flu research. The researchers believe that interfering with RNAs is the right path to take when creating vaccines and disease resistant animals.
The CSIRO experts also feel that the work being conducted with bird flu and the genetically modified chickens could have implications for cancer as well. The H5N1 project first became public several years ago but has now entered the final and critical stages.
Researchers maintain that similar changes happen naturally in animals to fight off viruses all the time. The CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory scientists involved in the project claim they just successfully harnessed the concept and basically just super-charged the process.
The genetically modified chickens have not yet been proven to be resistant to the bird flu. Australian researchers stated that it will be a complicated process to show the animals are immune to the avian flu and that they are able to breed equally resistant offspring.
How do you feel about bird flu research, which could lead to a genetically modified chicken landing on your dinner plate?