New research raise the possibility of producing gene-edited chickens that are...
New research raise the possibility of producing gene-edited chickens that are resistant to flu. This could potentially prevent the birds from being a major reservoir for pandemic strains of the virus.

CRISPR-fied chickens

Gene-edited chicken cells could leave flu with nowhere to hide

Scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh have used gene-editing techniques to stop the bird flu virus from spreading, in chicken cells grown in the lab.

According to the researchers, the findings raise the possibility of producing gene-edited chickens that are resistant to flu. This could potentially prevent the birds from being a major reservoir for pandemic strains of the virus. The researchers have so far been able to prevent the virus from taking hold by deleting a small section of chicken DNA inside lab-grown cells.

The team says the next step will be to try to produce chickens with the genetic change, but no birds have yet been produced. “We have long known that chickens are a reservoir for flu viruses that might spark the next pandemic,” explained Professor Wendy Barclay, Chair in Influenza Virology at Imperial. “In this research, we have identified the smallest possible genetic change we can make to chickens that can help to stop the virus taking hold. This has the potential to stop the next flu pandemic at its source.”

Recommended article

In the latest study, researchers targeted a specific protein inside chicken cells, called ANP32A. Professor Barclay’s team at Imperial found that during infection, influenza viruses hijack this protein to help replicate themselves. Working with experts from Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, they edited the cells’ DNA to remove a small section responsible for producing the protein, so removing the virus’s vehicle for replicating. They found the virus was no longer able to grow inside cells with the genetic change.

Previous research from The Roslin Institute and Cambridge University produced genetically modified chickens that did not transmit bird flu to other chickens following infection. The new approach is different because it does not involve introducing new genetic material into the bird’s DNA, but a small deletion.

Dr Mike McGrew, from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, said: “This is an important advance that suggests we may be able to use gene-editing techniques to produce chickens that are resistant to bird flu.” He added: “We haven’t produced any birds yet and we need to check if the DNA change has any other effects on the bird cells before we can take this next step.”

Source: Imperial College London

06.06.2019

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

mini viral RNA

Understanding the deadly nature of pandemic influenza

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford have discovered a new molecule that plays a key role in the immune response that is triggered by influenza infections.

Photo

Infectious disease

Evolution of leading cause of malaria outside of Africa

The genome sequences of ape parasites related to Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax), the main source of mosquito-borne malaria outside Africa, provide insights on the origin and early evolution of the human…

Photo

Autophagy

Pathway Ebola virus uses to enter cells pinpointed

The new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus declared just last week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is believed to have claimed more than 30 victims so far, highlighting the continued urgency…

Related products

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Eppendorf AG
Agena Bioscience - MassARRAY Colon Panel

Amplification/Detection

Agena Bioscience - MassARRAY Colon Panel

Agena Bioscience GmbH
Atlas Genetics - Atlas Genetics io system

Infectious diseases testing

Atlas Genetics - Atlas Genetics io system

Atlas Genetics Ltd
Eppendorf - BioSpectrometer fluroescence

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - BioSpectrometer fluroescence

Eppendorf AG
Eppendorf - μCuvette G1.0

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - μCuvette G1.0

Eppendorf AG