Forget golden eggs, the ones these hens lay are worth more than their weight in gold.
Most people eat chicken eggs because of their high protein content and healthy fats – but in the upcoming years eggs could ward off diseases, such as cancer and hepatitis.
That’s because researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have genetically engineered chickens to lay eggs that contain drugs capable of boosting the immune system.
Researchers there used gene editing technology, a technology to make chickens produce “interferon beta”.
Below image depicts the Gene Editing process:
FYI: What is Interferon beta?
Interferon beta is a type of protein used in the treatment of malignant skin cancer and hepatitis, as well as for virus research.
“This is a result that we hope leads to the development of cheap drugs,” said Professor Hironobu Hojo at Osaka University.
Hojo added, “In the future, it will be necessary to closely examine the characteristics of the agents contained in the eggs and determine their safety as pharmaceutical products”.
If the Japanese scientists are able to safely produce interferon beta, the price of the drug (currently up to $888 for a few micrograms) is expected to fall significantly. According to Japan News, The one and only goal is to lower the cost of the drug to 10 percent of its current price.
The scientists have already developed three hens which can produce medicated cancer-fighting eggs every one or two days.
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