British scientists create GM chickens that can lay eggs from different breeds

Source: The Mirror (UK). 18 February 2017

British scientists have genetically modified chickens so they can lay eggs from different breeds. The aim is to preserve rare chicken breeds that may be resistant to global infections like bird flu in the future or have highly desirable features such as excellent meat quality. Edinburgh University experts revealed the breakthrough at the world’s biggest science conference in Boston. They used gene editing technology to knock out part of a gene called DDX4 in chickens which is vital for bird fertility. The surrogate chickens are the first gene-edited birds to be produced in Europe, and this is the first time in the world that chickens have been genetically modified to preserve rare breeds.