"This technology could aid in the rapid propagation of flocks of disease-resistant chickens as well as chickens of uniform size and meat quality desirable to the poultry industry and consumers," says Robert J. Etches, vice president of research at Origen.
Both companies bring something to the table. Origen has developed a broad-based technology platform centered on the isolation and culture of avian ES cells and their agricultural and pharmaceutical applications. Like their mammals' equivalent, avian ES cells have the capacity to differentiate into any other cell type (totipotency), making them potentially useful for the propagation of desirable avian lines. By culturing ES cells in large quantities and transferring them to recipient embryos, this technology is designed to produce offspring whose attributes are like those of the injected ES cells. Embrex's in ovo delivery and automated injection technology could provide a route for transferring ES cells to recipient embryos on a rapid basis.
"By coupling high-density culturing of avian embryonic stem cells with Embrex's in ovo delivery technology, it may be possible to produce entire flocks of chickens with desired traits without the dilution of performance traits via traditional multigeneration, multiyear breeding programs," says Catherine A. Ricks, vice president, research and development for Embrex.
"More than 100 of the world's largest poultry producers already use our Inovoject systems to administer vaccines in ovo to all or some of the poultry
they produce," says Randall L. Marcuson, president and chief executive officer of Embrex. "With Embrex's extensive knowledge of embryonic development and our proven technology for precise injection delivery to 20,000 to 50,000 eggs per hour, we believe that development of high speed in ovo delivery of embryonic stem cells is a logical extension of our expertise."