Israel has developed a system to change the sex of chicks in the egg

This futuristic technology, without genetic manipulation, was presented at the Poultry Forum in Rimini and may offer a solution to the issue of culling male chicks that are not useful for production
An in-depth discussion session on the future challenges facing the egg industry, in particular how to manage the male chicks of laying hens, was held at the Fieravicola Poultry Forum, organised by the Italian branch of the World Poultry Science Association, represented in Rimini by Chairman Martino Cassandro.
In fact, today – as pointed out by Joël Gautron, a researcher at INRAE (Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement, i.e. France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) – male chicks are culled when they hatch, as they are not useful for egg production and are not as suitable for fattening as broiler chickens.
The biggest innovation comes from Israel. A new system, which was presented in Rimini by Yael Alter, the co-founder of “Soos”, uses acoustic vibrations at a specific frequency to change the sex of an embryo from male to female, without having to cull the male chicks anymore because they develop into females. It is already being tested in Italy too, and it could change the rules of the game, thus solving a problem that could potentially have a major impact on the poultry industry. It sounds like science fiction, but it is not: it is just a natural application of epigenomics, without genetic manipulation, and is therefore GMO free.
It is worth noting that, as of today, chick culling is still widely practised, even though a number of European countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland have already banned this practice, and other countries, including Italy, have announced that they will soon follow suit. So how to proceed? It is a hot topic not only for consumers, but also for the poultry industry, since the first to develop an economically viable system that does not reduce the hatching rate of eggs will be receiving million-dollar orders.
 
There are also other systems, such as magnetic resonance imaging of eggs, analysing molecules that only one of the two sexes produces or even other methods, which, however, are slow if we consider the number of eggs processed per hour. Plus, their results are still very inaccurate.
The technology developed by Israel could be a breakthrough. It is already being tested in Italy too, and it could change the rules of the game, thus solving a problem that could potentially have a major impact on the poultry industry.
Giulia Fellini
+39 3357362859
Fieravicola Poultry Forum press office

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