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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Genetically modified chickens lay eggs that fight cancer
An egg a day could keep cancer away, may soon be the new norm. Scientists have revealed that cancer and other life-threatening diseases could be prevented by eggs laid by a breed of genetically modified chickens.

The new finding could prove to be a path-breaking one and could even result in snipping the cost of mass-producing drugs. Scientsists have said that the research findings may also save millions of pounds nw being pumped into drug manufacturing

It all started with the breeding of the world’s first genetically altered chicken which could lay eggs with medicinal properties. These eggs are seen as potential ingredients in the making of life-saving drugs. The research was done at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, where Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1997. The current study has been published in the January 15 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a report said.

Scientists at Roslin said they genetically modified a flock of 500 ISA browns, a French breed of chicken, which is a cross between Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White chickens, and can produce up to 300 eggs a year. The team added human genes to the DNA of ISA Brown hens, enabling them to produce complex medicinal proteins. These human proteins are secreted into the whites of the birds' eggs, from which they can be extracted to produce drugs for humans.

It has been found that all the egg whites from the hens contained miR24, a monoclonal antibody with potential for treating malignant melanoma and arthritis, and human interferon b-1a, an immune system protein from a family of proteins that attacks tumors and viruses. Reports quoting scientists said that it is tough to develop these complex drugs in the laboratory.

It has also been fond that the technique could be used with a wide range of genes so that hens could produce many different drugs for a range of diseases, from Parkinson's to diabetes and other types of cancer.

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