It was the 21st century that saw the discovery of yet another miracle of nature – the natural mutation of featherless broilers. A game-changer in the world of poultry business and a wonder in the world of science and discovery.
To see the beauty of this specie you would have to go beyond just the appearance and delve into the process of discovery. The applications of this finding are present in this modern world. In 1863, Gregor Johann Mendel gives his discovery which was based upon the modern genetics. He found out that genes are the hereditary material. The “Mendelian inheritance” was the outcome of his knowledge of the pattern of this inheritance.”.
Gene is the segment of DNA and the working subunits which contains a specific information which they code into protein. Proteins are specific in nature and perform many functions including development of organs and tissues. Due to the altered structure of proteins, many diseases were observed in organisms. Several chemicals with positive and negative characteristics are formed using these altered proteins. In the 22nd century a natural mutated perplexing creature is present in Israel and known as “featherless broilers” which have no feathers in their body and consider as the Ugly Beast.
Genetic structure of featherless broilers
In 1954, UC Davis found out that there are two genes which cause featherless broilers. One is “naked neck” gene (NA)” which cause reduction in feathers coverage about 20% to 90% and the other gene is “scaleless” gene (Sc)” which removes all feathers from the body of broilers. Twelve years ago, Professor Avigdor Cahaner member of Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s show interest in scaleless broilers. He tried to use this mutant gene to produce featherless boilers by using selective breeding technology. He also claims that, future of poultry farming could be led by “featherless chicken” as these chickens could survive under hot and normal environment e.g. Middle East and Asia.
In six to eight weeks the featherless broilers reach in giant size because of ambient temperature. They always remain hungry and eat grains. Two trials were performed in the case of featherless broilers. Which shows the same results. Therefore, their progeny is same in proportion means ½ homozygous (sc/sc) featherless and ½ heterozygous (+/sc) feathered chicken. They were divided into two ambient temperature 32oC and 26oC with 70% relative humidity. The quality of the meat was analyzed using multiple statistical tests. The structure of meat redness and yellowness is also very important. Their color, water holding capacity plays significant role in its characterization. Their cardiovascular system (heart and breast meat) also analyzed.
Role of Featherless Broilers in Environment
The tests had shown that, featherless chicken is lower in calories, eco friendly, gain greater weight and fast-growing than feathered chickens. The potential benefit of absences of feathers not only increases the yield of breast meat (per pound of consumed feed). They also increase the availability of nutrients to meat muscles. Featherless broilers overcome many environmental problems. Natural commercial broilers require more water during plucking process. Fat and feather manure contaminated their feathers.
However, according to critics and human aspects, featherless chickens suffer more. They are prone to sunburn, parasites and mosquito’s bites than normal chickens. Featherless chicken could be host of “West Nile Virus”. Male chickens are sometime unable to mate. During mating they became injured duet to naked skin. Some people consider it genetically modified organism (GMOs). They called them an ugly beast because of their looks. But this mutation is naturally present in them due to which they are not GMOs. Moreover, a foundation of “German-Israel agricultural research” and Board of the Israeli Poultry are looking for profitable investment to make it commercially available to the marketplace.
One of the drawbacks of this natural mutation is the assumption that the meat might prove harmful for human consumption. Different trials were conducted for human consumption. Many investments and publications are present on featherless broilers. These broilers are safe for human consumption after certifications from local government and WHO following several successful trials.
This article is jointly written by Bakhtawar Attique, Laiba Fatima and Nabila Pervaiz.