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Chickens modified to halt bird flu

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, England (UPI) Jan 14, 2011
British scientists say they have created the first genetically modified chickens that do not spread bird flu.

Researchers say the development will protect the health of poultry and could reduce the risk of a pandemic of the disease in humans, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Bird flu, also known as avian flu, does not easily infect humans but when it does the effects can be serious.

One strain, H5N1, has been blamed for about 300 deaths since the mid-1990s and kills almost 80 percent of those who become infected.

"Chickens are potential bridging hosts that can enable new strains of flu to be transmitted to humans," Laurence Tiley of Cambridge University, one of the scientists who carried out the new research, said. "Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people exposed to the infected birds."

The research team inserted an artificial gene into chickens that introduced a tiny part of the bird flu virus into chicken cells.

The modified birds become infected but the virus was rendered to other poultry, the BBC reported.




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FARM NEWS
World agriculture threatened by water gluttony: report
New York (AFP) Jan 12, 2011
World agriculture employs more than one billion people but is in trouble because it's the biggest consumer of ever scarcer water and a huge producer of greenhouse gas emissions, a new report said Wednesday. Worldwatch Institute, a research group on climate, energy, agriculture and the green economy, said there had to be a revolution in investment in food and water to reverse a "frightening" ... read more

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