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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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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.