Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hens’ teeth not so rare after all


Scientists have discovered that rarest of things: a chicken with teeth – crocodile teeth to be precise.

Contrary to the well-known phrase, ‘As rare as hens’ teeth,’ the researchers say they have found a naturally occurring mutant chicken called Talpid that has a complete set of ivories.

The team, based at the Universities of Manchester and Wisconsin, have also managed to induce teeth growth in normal chickens – activating genes that have lain dormant for 80 million years.

Professor Mark Ferguson, one of the scientific team at the University of Manchester, says the research – published in Current Biology this week – has major implications in understanding the processes of evolution. It could also have applications in tissue regeneration, including the replacement of lost teeth in humans.

“The mutant bird has severe limb defects and dies before it can hatch,” explained Professor Ferguson, who is based in the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

“It was discovered 50 years ago but no one has ever examined its mouth. What we discovered were teeth similar to those of crocodiles – not surprising as birds are the closest living relatives of the reptile.”

The discovery led the team to wonder whether healthy chickens might still maintain the genetic pathways to re-grow teeth.

“We found we were able to induce teeth to grow in normal chickens by making changes to the expression of particular molecules,” said Professor Ferguson.

“All the pathways to make teeth are preserved which helps us understand how evolutionary changes can be brought about by subtle alterations in developmental biology.”

Professor Ferguson says a direct application of the research could be in the re-growing of teeth in people who have lost them through accident or disease.

But the study has implications for tissue regeneration more widely.

“The principle of activating specific dormant pathways to stimulate regeneration instead of repair has made applications, to injury, surgery and human disease,” he said.

Indeed, building on previous discoveries of scar-free healing in embryos, Professor Mark Ferguson and Dr Sharon O’Kane founded Renovo, a spin-out company from The University of Manchester, which is developing novel pharmaceuticals for the prevention and reduction of scarring.

“Renovo now employs about 100 staff and is the world-leading company in researching and developing novel pharmaceuticals to prevent and improve scarring.”

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>