Strain of broiler chicken preserved for 50 years
Celebrations are underway for a genetic strain
of a broiler chicken that was preserved 5 decades ago.
Researchers at the University of
Alberta preserved a genetic strain of a broiler chicken 50 years ago to ensure
it lived on amid the evolution of its "monster cousins".
Doug Korver, professor of poultry
nutrition at the University of Alberta: "At the time, it was thought by
Agriculture Canada that genetic progress was happening pretty quickly and that a
random-bred standard should be maintained to preserve those genetics."
Birds raised from the strain
saved in 1957 are five times smaller than today's commercially grown
chickens, which have gone through extensive gene selection to boost their size
and meat yield.
However, some researchers believe
in the importance of saving genes from the 1957 chickens for food security, in
case of illness that could threaten the existence of lines developed over the
past 50 years.
Martin Zuidhof, a poultry
research scientist: "If we ever have to fall back on some traits that have been
lost in the commercial genetic selection process, then we have that resource
available to us to rely on again."
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