Edinburgh Uni pioneers new genetic technique

CHICKEN eggs could hatch into entirely different endangered species if new research from Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute is successful.

Scientists at the renowned facility, which created Dolly the Sheep, are creating a frozen bank of cells from both chickens used for food and more rare species. These could then be injected into host chickens, bred and the resulting egg would hatch into the variety of chicken chosen.

Michael McGrew, of Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute, told the Tedx DeExtinction conference in Washington DC on Friday how the science has already created a chicken fathered by a duck and a houbara - a Middle Eastern bustard - fathered by a cockerel.

He told the conference: “So this offers us a new opportunity - we’re actually going to make a different sort of frozen zoo. We’re calling that a frozen aviary.

“We can take germ cells from many types of chicken, grow them in culture and freeze them in test tubes.

“We’re going to do this with industrial breeds of chickens that we eat and also rare breeds of chicken that we think are going to be lost from the world.

“We’re going to freeze them down, and then very easily, if we need these birds, if they’re lost from disease, we’re going to be able to thaw these, put them into other chickens, breed, and get back these chickens.”