A Biobank of Breeds to Reduce Number of Research Chickens

Scientists will seek to develop a new technology to limit the number of chickens required for research. Their approach will involve freezing chicken reproductive cells and using sterile surrogates to hatch the required breeds. This method would enable genetic diversity – which helps limit the risk of poor health – to be maintained in those chickens created from frozen material.

A team from the Roslin Institute will aim to transfer frozen reproductive stem cells from many individuals of one chicken breed into eggs from sterile surrogate chickens of a different breed. The hatched offspring from the injected eggs that result will look like the sterile line but will lay eggs of the transferred breed and retain genetic diversity.

The project is supported by an award of more than £500,000 from the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

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