Crop Biotech Update

The Volcani Center Researchers Develop Gene-Edited Hens to Stop Male Chicken Slaughter

December 14, 2022

Scientists from The Volcani Center in Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have gene-edited DNA into hens to stop the development of any male embryos that they lay, which is activated when the eggs are exposed to blue light. This development could end the massive slaughtering of male chickens that are culled every year because they do not lay eggs.

According to Dr. Yuval Cinnamon, principal investigator at The Volcani Center, the "Golda hen" will have an enormous impact on the egg production industry. He said the system will benefit not only chickens but also the planet. Dr. Cinnamon added that female chicks are not affected by the blue light and that no DNA is added to either the hens or the eggs that they lay. "Farmers will get the same chicks they get today and consumers will get exactly the same eggs they get today," he said.

UK-based animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) followed the research and their chief policy advisor Peter Stephenson said in an interview, "Normally I am very wary of using gene editing of farm animals. But this is an exceptional case and I and my colleagues at CIWF are supportive of it."

For more details, read the article in The Jewish Chronicle.

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