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Japanese mutant chickens are laying eggs filled with cancer-fighting drugs

Japanese mutant chickens are laying eggs filled with cancer-fighting drugs
[Photo: Fabrizio Bucella]

It should be no surprise that the country that brought the world Godzilla, a human baby floor mop, this utterly odd milk ad, and these Nicolas Cage snack sticks have come up with a unique way to make pharmaceutical drugs: have chickens lay them.

In their ongoing efforts to make drugs cheaper, Japanese researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have genetically engineered chickens to lay eggs containing drugs that can fight diseases like hepatitis and cancer. According to Phys.org, the unique drug creation technique uses gene-editing technology to make the …er, cocks produce interferon beta, a protein related to the immune system that is a powerful tool in treating of skin cancer and hepatitis. Those cells were then used to fertilize eggs and create hens, which inherited those genes. A few rounds of cross-breeding later and voila!: chickens were laying eggs with disease-fighting superpowers.

As reported by The Japan News, the researchers plan to sell the drug to pharmaceutical companies, so they can perform research on the drug at a reduced cost.  “This is a result that we hope leads to the development of cheap drugs,” Professor Hironobu Hojo from Osaka University told The Japan News.

It’s unclear whether medical school will now have to include a course in making omelets.ML