Researchers at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute, also known as the folks who produced cloned sheep Dolly, have said that extinct or endangered birds could be brought back into existence by hens created to produce eggs of different species. The scientists claim that a genetically modified chicken has already been fathered by a duck.
This medical miracle involves a technique where the cells responsible for producing sperm and eggs are extracted from a bird embryo and then injected into the reproductive organs of a chicken embryo. When the chicken grows up, it can produce the sperm of whatever species the injected cells came from, reports The Mirror.
The technique was originally developed when researchers were trying to figure out a way to get common chicken species to produce eggs which would hatch into more valuable types of hens.
Mike McGrew realized that the technique could be used to create designer chickens, which could produce any bird species. He is overseeing the current project. “We could use this system to propagate endangered species or potentially to bring back an extinct one,” he said.
The research is taking place National Avian Resreach Facility. If successful, the genetically-modified hens could produce raptors, ducks or songbirds.