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Egg-free surrogate chickens produced to save rare breeds'iStock photo

Egg-free surrogate chickens produced to save rare breeds'

19 Feb 2017 | 10:40 PM

LONDON:Hens that do not produce their own chicks have been developed by researchers for use as surrogates to lay eggs from rare breeds using new gene-editing techniques.

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London, February 18

Hens that do not produce their own chicks have been developed by researchers for use as surrogates to lay eggs from rare breeds using new gene-editing techniques.

The advance could help to boost breeding of endangered birds, as well as improve production of commercial hens, researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland used a genetic tool called TALEN to delete a section of chicken DNA. They targeted part of a gene called DDX4, which is crucial for bird fertility.

Hens with the genetic modification were unable to produce eggs but were otherwise healthy, the team found.

DDX4 plays an essential role in the generation of specialised cells - called primordial germ cells - which give rise to eggs.

Researchers said that donor primordial germ cells from other breeds could be implanted into the gene-edited chickens as they are developing inside an egg.

The surrogate hens would then grow up to produce eggs containing all of the genetic information from the donor breeds.

The surrogate chickens are the first gene-edited birds to be produced in Europe.

"These chickens are a first step in saving and protecting rare poultry breeds from loss in order to preserve future biodiversity of our poultry from both economic and climate stresses," said lead researcher Mike McGrew from the University of Edinburgh.

The study was published in the journal Development. — PTI

Spinal cord, not brain, determines left or right-handedness

Spinal cord, not brain, determines left or right-handedness

19 Feb 2017 | 6:58 PM

LONDON: Asymmetrical genetic activity in the spinal cord that begins in the womb determines if the baby will be right or left-handed, according to a new study which shows that the brain is not responsible for a person’s handedness.

Alien space particles wreaking havoc on your gadgets

Alien space particles wreaking havoc on your gadgets

19 Feb 2017 | 7:00 PM

WASHINGTON: Alien subatomic particles raining down from outer space are wreaking havoc on your smartphones, computers and other personal electronic devices, scientists including one of Indian origin say.

Cabbage harvested aboard space station: NASA

Cabbage harvested aboard space station: NASA

19 Feb 2017 | 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have harvested the first crop of Chinese cabbage after spending nearly a month tending to the leafy greens, according to NASA.

'Soon, print solar cells at the cost of a newspaper'

'Soon, print solar cells at the cost of a newspaper'

18 Feb 2017 | 10:30 PM

TORONTO:Printing solar cells may soon be as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper, thanks to researchers who have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a new class of solar devices.

770 million 4G users in China by 2016

770 million 4G users in China by 2016

18 Feb 2017 | 2:47 PM

BEIJING: The number of 4G users in China touched 770 million by the end of 2016, double the number from the previous year, according to official data.

Declining underwater seagrass may harm corals, humans

Declining underwater seagrass may harm corals, humans

17 Feb 2017 | 9:29 PM

WASHINGTON: Seagrass meadows can reduce bacterial exposure for corals and humans, according to scientists who warned that the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth are on a decline due to climate change.

Virtual reality, 3D printing tech may let you pet dinosaurs!

Virtual reality, 3D printing tech may let you pet dinosaurs!

17 Feb 2017 | 5:33 PM

MELBOURNE: You could soon walk with a dinosaur, and even pet it, thanks to scientists who for the first time are combining virtual reality and 3D printing to bring the prehistoric past back into life.

Google’s balloon-powered internet comes a step closer

Google’s balloon-powered internet comes a step closer

17 Feb 2017 | 5:15 PM

WASHINGTON: Researchers at Google have moved a step closer to rolling out a network of huge balloons to provide internet connectivity to billions of people around the world, particularly those in difficult-to-reach rural areas.

Now, wirelessly charge devices anywhere in your room

Now, wirelessly charge devices anywhere in your room

17 Feb 2017 | 5:12 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists at Disney Research have developed a way to wirelessly charge several electronic devices in a room, eliminating the need for electrical cords or charging cradles.

Gene editing surgery may prevent blindness

Gene editing surgery may prevent blindness

17 Feb 2017 | 5:05 PM

SEOUL: The gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 may be delivered directly into the eye to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) efficiently and safely, a new study has claimed.

Once-iconic BlackBerry now has virtually zero market share

Once-iconic BlackBerry now has virtually zero market share

16 Feb 2017 | 1:14 PM

MUMBAI: As global smartphone sales to end-users hit nearly 432 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, once a market leader BlackBerry now virtually has a zero per cent share.

New 'living diode' may power gen-next biorobots

New 'living diode' may power gen-next biorobots

15 Feb 2017 | 10:01 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have created a "living diode" using heart cells, an advance that could pave the way for next generation of biorobotics and novel treatments for muscle-related health problems.

Black hole discovered fuelling star formation

Black hole discovered fuelling star formation

15 Feb 2017 | 9:47 PM

BOSTON: In a surprise finding, scientists have discovered a black hole that is recycling extremely hot gas into cold fuel for star formation.

Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change

Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change

15 Feb 2017 | 9:45 PM

WASHINGTON: Ice loss from Canada's Arctic glaciers has transformed them into a major contributor to sea level change, new research has found.

Rare pulsating star spotted 7,000 light years away

Rare pulsating star spotted 7,000 light years away

15 Feb 2017 | 9:40 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have discovered a rare pulsating star as big as our Sun, located 7,000 light years away, that is expanding and contracting in a unique pattern in three different directions.

Mars had water in recent past: Study

Mars had water in recent past: Study

15 Feb 2017 | 7:35 PM

LONDON: Researchers have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley near Mars' equator that appears to have been flooded by water in the not-too-distant past.

Now, create and share lists of favourite places on Google Maps

Now, create and share lists of favourite places on Google Maps

14 Feb 2017 | 9:54 PM

NEW DELHI: Adding to the ever-growing connectivity fostered by the social media, is yet another feature by the Google Maps application where people can now create and share lists of their favourite places in their city or any place across the globe.

Scientists soften on DNA editing of human eggs, sperm, embryos: Report

Scientists soften on DNA editing of human eggs, sperm, embryos: Report

14 Feb 2017 | 9:44 PM

CHICAGO: Although not ready yet, powerful gene editing tools may one day be used on human embryos, eggs and sperm to remove genes that cause inherited diseases, according to a report by US scientists and ethicists released on Tuesday.

Kids born to older moms may be smarter

Kids born to older moms may be smarter

14 Feb 2017 | 7:25 PM

LONDON: In some good news for career women, scientists have found that delaying pregnancy till age 35 may actually make children smarter, contradicting the conventional belief.

NASA selects 3 landing sites for Mars 2020 mission

NASA selects 3 landing sites for Mars 2020 mission

13 Feb 2017 | 9:49 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA scientists have shortlisted three potential landing sites for the upcoming Mars rover mission that is set to launch in 2020.

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