A team of researchers has found that inserting duck DNA into chickens may help protect the latter from influenza, according to the Los Angeles Times. The researchers recently published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


According to the researchers, chickens lack RIG-I, a gene that helps protect wild ducks from influenza. They found that embryonic chicken cells that had RIG-I inserted into them were unaffected by either the H5N2 virus or the more virulent H5N1, also known as “bird flu.” Chicken cells without RIG-I died from exposure to the influenza viruses.