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- The eggs contain an antiviral protein called human interferon beta.
- This protein is known to combat some forms of cancer and other conditions.
- The unusual technique could one day provide cheaper and more effective treatments.
How it works<p>To get hens to lay the valuable eggs, the team used genome-editing technology to modify cells from cockerel embryos so that the animal's protein-producing DNA would go on to produce human interferon beta in eggs instead of normal egg whites. These cells were then reinserted into the embryos and the cockerels later mated with hens.</p><p>After two generations, hens were laying eggs with visibly cloudier whites that contained human interferon beta. </p><p><img src="https://cdn.iflscience.com/images/54a3f974-06d5-559f-8159-74cd61609689/content-1537352922-eggs.PNG"></p><p><em>Image: Oishi et al.</em><br></p><p>The researchers are working with Cosmo Bio, a Japanese reagent maker, to potentially produce the drug for the commercial market.<br></p><p>"For interferon-beta protein, we have about 20 hens in-house," Mika Kitahara, a spokesperson for Cosmo Bio, told <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/18/scientists-create-multi-million-pound-golden-eggs-treat-cancer/" target="_blank"><em>The Telegraph</em></a>. "So far our hens produce the eggs constantly, just like normal hens." </p><p>Kitahara noted that the process doesn't seem to harm the chickens. "These hens can produce eggs constantly, so we can obtain recombinant proteins in large amounts and with stability," she said. "In addition, this system doesn't involve killing hens."</p>
Granted, genetic manipulation has been a dream for decades. Here’s what is different now.
Researchers succeed in deleting key genes from ants, significantly modifying their behavior.
A staple of bad science fiction, mutant ants have been more of a figment of imagination rather than scientific reality. We’ve genetically altered mice and fruit flies, but growing mutant ants has eluded scientists due to the complex life cycle of the little critters. Now two teams announced that they managed to edit out certain genes from lab ants, altering their behavior.
U.S. scientists have successfully repaired DNA in a human embryo for the first time.
American researchers have announced the successful repair of a human embryo's genes. As reported in the journal Nature, they used CRISPR-cas9. On one hand, their success represents an exciting breakthrough and on the other, it's a stark reminder of all we don't yet understand about human genetics. That's because the repair of the gene occurred in a way that researchers didn't anticipate.
Harvard scientists say they are two years away from creating a hybrid embryo with mammoth traits.