A duck has fathered a chicken -- seriously. Scientists from Dubai's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory say they have succeeded in using one species to produce another, a new technique which could be used to bring extinct species back to life.
To achieve the interspecies-produced offspring, researchers injected a male duck embryo with chicken germ cells -- those cells responsible for producing gametes (sperm or eggs). And as the duck grew into sexual maturity, its body began to produce reproductive cells belonging to the other species, allowing it to breed with a hen to create a chick.
Using this same technique, researchers believe that one day chickens could be modified with DNA from other bird types, like eagles or songbirds, to breed offspring belonging to a species not their own -- including those previously wiped out of existence.
Mike McGrew, a scientist working with the team in Dubai, says that the hope is to one day ”use this system to propagate endangered species or potentially bring back an extinct one.”
Not long ago, the notion of reviving lost species from extinction seemed pure science fiction, but embryonic researchers are well on their way to doing just that.
See also: Rat blamed for Fukushima power outage