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Potential for Biomarker Gender Selection

09/20/2018

A number of companies and research institutes have claimed to have developed technology to differentiate between eggs containing male or female embryos at an early stage of incubation.

The most biologically plausible system to date has been developed by an Israeli company using technology developed by Professor Danny Offen at the Medical School of Tel Aviv University.

 

The company eggXYt has approached the problem of early differentiation by genetic manipulation.  The system apparently involves adding a detectable marker to the male sex- determining chromosome to allow differentiation using the branded seXYt system. If effective the procedure could resolve the problem of destruction of male egg-strain chicks at the commercial level. 

As yet there have not been any peer reviewed articles on the system or projections of cost. Presentations made by the entrepreneurial founder and the company website are long on the obvious advantages but short on scientific details. The concept has received seed funding from agencies in Europe and was a 2018 recipient of a Pearse Lyons Accelerator Program which supports start-ups with the potential to enhance food production by providing seed funding.

 

Even if the technology proves both technically and financially feasible, the major problem facing the developers is that it is based on genetic manipulation. The demographic opposed to intensive livestock agriculture in general and egg production specifically, as a result of destruction of male chicks will also be opposed to what they would regard as GM technology and in some cases philosophical objections on the grounds of “gender discrimination” The Company will have to enter into JV agreements with the major breeding companies for the system to achieve commercial adoption. All primary breeders have adopted a no-GMO policy which would appear to be a hurdle for eggXYt.

Yehuda Elram, CEO (left) and Prof. Daniel Offen

co-founders of eggXYt.

 

From publicity eggXYt is claiming to apply CRISPR technology which involves deletion of genes. However the concept must involve addition of a marker to a chromosome.  While EGG-NEWS strongly supports what may be regarded as a beneficial process, those biased against GM technology will most certainly oppose the procedure.

 

The co-founder and CEO of the company Yehuda Elram is welcome to prepare a posting providing more details of the process and to provide results of trials to demonstrate proof of principle and a projection of cost using their selected business model.