Tim Doran and Mark Tizard have worked in the area of avian transgenesis and small RNA biology for the past decade. Following CSIRO's development of RNA interference in plants it became evident that there was great potential for this technology development in agricultural livestock species. Over the past decade the group has developed transgenic capabilities in the chicken not just as a model system but also as one of the largest and most sustainable food protein production systems. Those capabilities were developed to address developmental biology and disease resilience objectives by incorporate specific RNAi systems. Along the journey new applications have emerged, from evolution of the early technology through to harnessing microRNA biology, all of which has lead to the adoption of precision genome engineering technology. The chicken reproductive system is quite distinct from that of mammalian species presenting different challenges that have had to be overcome.
The solutions and technology developed in the CSIRO laboratories has application beyond the chicken, into a wide range of avian and oviparous organisms. Tim and Mark will present the key steps on that journey and the potential of genome engineering for avian species.