I pose for you the question: if avian flu was created in a laboratory, as many think it was, is the right course of action to modify the genes of chickens to reduce their susceptibility? One ponders the law of unintended consequences, but there are certainly some scientists who think it is a good idea, as reported in the Daily Mail:
A genetically modified ‘superchicken’ that doesn’t spread deadly bird flu has been developed by scientists.
The bird is intended to prevent the outbreaks of avian influenza which lead to millions of birds being culled.
It could also stop new strains of flu mutating in domestic fowl and spreading to people, leading to killer worldwide pandemics.
The British team behind the GM chicken say it is ‘inconceivable’ that its meat or eggs could be harmful. However, it will need rigorous safety checks before it could go into the food chain, they said.
But anti GM campaigners warned that genetic engineering was not the answer to stopping bird flu – and said the public would never accept GM eggs and meat.
Avian flu is a serious threat to farmers and people. Although it does not easily infect humans, when it does it can be deadly.
The latest, most virulent strain – called H5N1 – has killed more than 300 people since 2003 in 15 countries and led to the deaths of millions of birds. In 2007 around 260,000 turkeys were culled in East Anglia after outbreaks of H5N1.
Doctors fear it could mutate in flocks of chickens into a new strain that is transmissible from person to person, fuelling a pandemic that kills millions of people.
The GM chicken was created by a team at Cambridge University and Edinburgh University and reported today in the journal Science…
[continues in the Daily Mail]