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Israeli startup develops chickens that lay eggs from which only females will hatch

Israeli researchers discover ‘genetic modification’ to interrupt embryogenesis, preventing the creation of males when they are only a cell cluster; males are usually eliminated because they cannot lay eggs.

A groundbreaking development of Israeli company Poultry NRS in collaboration with the Volcanic Institute – the Agricultural Research Administration of the State of Israel, led the development of genome editing and breeding technologies for the hatching of the first hen known that lay eggs only females will hatch.

Poultry NRS is a four-year-old corporation formed by the American-Israeli innovation firm NRS IMPACT and the Volcanic Institute, that solves the most pervasive issues confronting the broiler and egg-laying sectors. The first hens, a prototype called “Golda,” are already clucks and expected to produce those special eggs.

The company’s research team led by Dr. Yuval Cinnamon, an embryonic specialist, has discovered that the Z chromosome from the mother hen is the common denominator of male chickens. Their plan was to add a gene that stops embryogenesis to the Z chromosome that only affects males while they are merely a minuscule cluster of cells.

Besides Golda hens, at the Volcani Institute’s NRS Poultry facility, only millions of embryonic cells whose sole purpose is to convey genetic information. Trays upon trays of cell tissue cultures are evaluated and validated in the company’s labs before being checked for modification.

The market size is estimated at 8 billion global. The hens lay approximately 2 trillion eggs per year. Western countries consume approximately 250-288 eggs per year.

“This is a true revolution that will revolutionize the face of the global laying business,” Eli Moore, president of NRS IMPACT, told Ynet. “We have achieved a one-of-a-kind innovation, which has already sparked unprecedented interest among commercial companies in Europe. We are now attempting to expedite the delivery of the new breed of casters to worldwide markets.”

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