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Gene-edited chickens could prevent avian influenza pandemic
The first DNA-edited chicks will be hatched at the Roslin Institute later this year.
Poultry to act as a ‘buffer between wild birds and humans’

Researchers at Imperial College London are investigating if there is a way to prevent avian influenza virus crossing into farmed animals from wild birds.

Working with The Roslin Institute, the scientists are using CRISPR gene-editing technology to create chickens that are resistant to infection by influenza.

Study leader Professor Wendy Barclay believes that by preventing influenza virus crossing from wild birds into chickens, it would stop the next pandemic ‘at source’.

"With our idea to generate farmed animals that cannot be infected by influenza viruses we aim to bring global health security by stopping influenza pandemics from emerging,” she said.

According to Reuters, the first DNA-edited chicks will be hatched at the Roslin Institute later this year. In these chicks, the scientists have removed parts of a protein in the DNA on which the influenza virus is dependent on.

The scientists overall aim is to generate poultry that cannot get influenza and develop a “buffer between wild birds and humans".

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Hen charity starts work on first rehoming centre

News Story 1
 The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) has begun work on its first hen welfare and education centre. Located in north Devon, the 250 square metre building will comprise a state-of-the-art rehoming centre and fully equipped veterinary clinic.

Image © Guy Harrop  

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Former RCVS president to chair new Horse Welfare Board

Former RCVS president Barry Johnson has been appointed as the independent chair of a new Horse Welfare Board. Barry, who is also past chairman of World Horse Welfare, was selected by an industry panel including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and The Horsemenís Group.

The welfare board aims to develop a new welfare strategy covering the whole racing industry. Mr Johnson said: ďIím very pleased to have been asked by racing to take on this role and by the sportís commitment to continuous improvement in the welfare of racehorses."