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Quack shot: Duck genome takes aim at bird flu

Published on Jun 10, 2013 6:25 AM
 
This photo taken on Apr 14, 2013 shows ducks at a duck farm in Zhangzhou, south China's Fujian province. An international team of scientists said on Sunday they had sequenced the genome of the duck as part of an investigation into a natural source for avian influenza. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - An international team of scientists said on Sunday they had sequenced the genome of the duck as part of an investigation into a natural source for avian influenza.

Ducks and other fowl are carriers of bird flu virus, which can mix among pigs and humans in close proximity, mutating into more dangerous forms.

But, intriguingly, these birds are often immune to the virus they carry, as appears to be the case with the newly emerged H7N9 strain in China.

Publishing in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers said they had unravelled the DNA code of a 10-week-old female Beijing duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and identified immune-system genes that defend the bird against flu infection.

 
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