WASHINGTON — Scientists have genetically engineered chickens that can’t spread bird flu to their neighbors.
The experiment is a first step in exploring new ways to thwart a type of influenza that experts fear might one day spark a pandemic. But it would need lots of additional research to see if the resulting chickens and their eggs would be safe to eat.
A team led by the University of Cambridge bred chickens with a piece of DNA that produces what researchers dubbed a decoy molecule, which tricks and diverts an enzyme key to the flu virus’ reproduction.
Then the team infected those chickens with bird flu and put them in cages with uninfected chickens. The infected birds still died, but they didn’t spread bird flu to the other chickens.