Scientists work to breed chickens that can resist bird flu

Mexico City, October 13, 2023.

arriveAmid concerns that bird flu could jump to humans and become a new epidemic, scientists are working to edit the genes of chickens to make them resistant to the disease.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, concluded that editing a protein necessary for the development of avian influenza in chickens, called ANP32A, suppresses two genes related to it in the cells (ANP32B and ANP32E ), can prevent chickens from being infected with avian influenza. Viruses replicate from one animal to another.

“Avian influenza is widespread in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, especially South America, and there are concerns it could spread to Antarctica,” University of Edinburgh researcher Mike McGrew explained in a news release introducing the study .

McGrew recalled that the virus posed a threat to wild bird species, caused huge economic losses to livestock farmers, and posed a threat to human health; in fact, it had caused human deaths.

Several years ago, Wendy Barclay, a scientist at Imperial College London and an author on the study, isolated the protein that carries the virus, taking the first step toward breeding chickens that are resistant to the virus. step.

Now, researchers have successfully edited this protein in chicken germ cells to minimize the activity of influenza A.

“We found that adult chickens carrying the edited ANP32A protein were resistant to physiological doses of influenza A exposure from other infected birds and showed better recovery from the disease,” McGrew said.

Additionally, the chickens were followed for more than two years after receiving a dose of the virus and experienced no virus-related health problems or effects on their egg production.

“We believe that making additional edits to the protein and deleting two other related genes (ANP32B and ANP32E) in chicken cells will prevent viral replication,” Barclay said in the same news release.

Scientists believe that research must continue to ensure that the health of animals is not affected by this gene editing, and to continue to verify whether this editing can effectively eliminate the possibility of viral evolution.

Information from: EFE

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