Genetics: Genetics: Getting a Leg Up on the Birds

Drumsticks, anyone? If you're partial to chicken legs, here's good news for you. Thanks to some clever genetic engineering, scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., have come up with a way to grow birds with an extra pair of legs.

The work, described in last week's Nature, centers on so-called T-box genes. Common to all vertebrates, including humans, they're important in the development of limbs in the embryo--determining, for example, whether they become hind- or forelimbs (or in chickens, legs or wings). But, says geneticist Juan Carlos Belmonte, the study's senior scientist, "we didn't know if one...

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