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Chickens engineered to make cancer drugs
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of MSNBC News/Reuters

MSNBC News/Reuters, January 15, 2007
Posted: January 18th, 2007

A team at the institute that cloned Dolly the sheep have made a genetically engineered chicken that produces cancer drugs in its eggs. The chickens produce the cancer drugs in their egg whites, the team at the Roslin Biocentre in Edinburgh reported. The drugs include a monoclonal antibody themselves lab-engineered immune system proteins and a human immune system protein used to treat cancer and other conditions. Scientists have been trying to find good ways to turn animals into factories. Cattle, sheep and goats all have been genetically engineered to produce human proteins in their milk, including insulin and drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, but the Roslin team thought chickens, with their shorter life cycles and egg-laying prowess, also might be useful. They used a virus to infect very early chicken embryos. The virus inserted the genetic material into the DNA of chick embryos in newly laid eggs. The researchers hatched these chicks and found the male chicks who had indeed incorporated the new DNA in their semen. These cockerels were then bred with normal hens and they screened the resulting chicks to see which ones still carried the two new genes. The researchers have now bred several hundred chickens that can produce the desired proteins. Other companies have created animals and plants that produce human and animal proteins, as well as vaccines.

Note: It's a brave new world. For more on genetically modified organisms, click here.

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