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Gene-edited hens can avoid production of male chicks

Image: Chick bird chicken, cocoparisienne, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence

Researchers from the Agricultural Research Organization - Volcani Center in Israel have developed a genetically edited hen that lays eggs from which only female chicks hatch. The genetic editing works in such a way that the female offspring do not carry any of the edits themselves. Any male embryos in eggs carry a different chromosome that stops their development at a very early stage when the eggs are exposed to blue light. The news has been welcomed by Compassion in World Farming, which says the technology could avoid the current system of slaughtering male chicks shortly after hatching.

Read more (including a useful visualisation of how the reproduction of these hens works) on the BBC website here. See also the TABLE explainer What is animal welfare?

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