Saturday, June 02, 2007

Australian Scientists Race To 'Build' Bird Flu Resistant Chicken

Another couple of years of mass poultry culls in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, and those countries will be crying out for a genetically modified chicken that will be resistant to the bird flu virus.

Australian and British scientists are now racing each other to come up with a bird flu resistant chicken, knowing such patents will be worth billions in the coming decades.

The spread of H5N1 has already cost the world poultry industries more than $10 billion since the virus resurfaced in 2003, and led to devastating market impacts as consumers turned away from poultry meat, following bird flu scares.

From :

CSIRO scientists in Victoria are aiming to be the first in the world to develop a genetically modified chicken immune to the killer bird flu.

CSIRO's Geelong compound has begun the research, racing for time against British scientists at Cambridge University who are hungry for a breakthrough, News Ltd reported.

Millions of dollars are at stake in the research, which would help farmers and breeders, replacing their chickens with flu-immune birds, the report said.

The CSIRO team aims to make the chickens immune to avian influenza.

The super chickens would have to be labelled genetically modified, but the report said they would still taste like regular chicken.

Australian Animal Health Laboratory's Dr John Lowenthal said an avian influenza pandemic was a major threat.

“We have an obligation to come up with a solution to it,” he said.

“At the end of the process we are expressing what we would call transgenes into the chicken so that this becomes permanently incorporated into the chicken, into all of its cells."

Should this superchook become a reality, we may see laws imposed, particularly in countries that have been devastated by bird flu in the past, that make non-bird flu resistant poultry illegal to sell, to own, to breed or even to eat.

Welcome to the age of production line living food products, made to order.

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