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Researchers produce donor breed chicks from surrogate parents
The researchers demonstrated their approach in the white leghorn breed.

Gene-editing technique could aid animal productivity and welfare.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute have successfully produced donor breed chicks from surrogate cockerels and hens.

The outcome, achieved using gene-editing technology, could be an efficient way to transfer beneficial characteristics from one chicken to another, such as disease resistance or tolerance to warm climates. 

It could also benefit poultry production in low and middle-income countries, preserving key indigenous chicken breeds that are well suited to living in challenging conditions, researchers said. 

Dr Mike McGrew from The Roslin Institute, explains: “Chickens are the world’s most populous livestock species. The potential to preserve chicken breeds and introduce characteristics that will improve their wellbeing and productivity brings the opportunity to improve efficiency in the poultry industry and develop local breeds of chicken.”

In the study, researchers implanted sterile male and female chicken eggs with the reproductive cells from donor birds.
The resulting chickens were then mated together, with their chicks inheriting characteristics from their real parents - the donor birds taher than the surrogates - along with edited changes to their DNA.

The team demonstrated the approach by repairing a natural genetic change that causes distinctive white plumage in the white leghorn breed. The chicks born to the sterile chickens had a black plumage. 

They also used the technique to introduce a distinctive curly feather, believed to help Western African breeds cope with hot climates, into chicks bred from Light Sussex chickens, a British breed.

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng Director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, said: “Poultry is a key livestock animal for millions of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. 

“Any gains in efficiency, productivity and health from introducing useful traits from other poultry breeds could significantly improve the lives of these farming families through increased food production and income.”

The findings are published in the journal, Nature Communications

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.