The scientists who developed the famous "dino-chicken" were interested in beak evolution. They didn't intend to create a full-on dinosaur, but instead wanted to understand the genetics behind the mouth structure in birds. They found that birds have a group of genes that code for facial features, and which were absent in non-beaked animals. By suppressing the proteins that would have prompted beak formation in a chicken embryo, they made an embryo with a rounded, short, bony snout.
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Key Facts In This Video
The closest living relatives of birds are crocodiles and alligators. 02:22
The process of inserting new genes into an organism's genome is called transgenesis, and it can cause the organism to exhibit new characteristics. 04:30
A "retro-engineered dinosaur chicken" would theoretically still behave like a chicken. 06:16
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