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Fields & Applications Spectroscopy, Genomics & DNA Analysis

Image of the Month

Quick Chick Pick

Researchers at the Dresden University of Technology can now determine the sex of a chicken before it hatches – in under a minute. 

A small hole is cut into the shell and near-infrared spectroscopy is used to identify the DNA content, which is around 2 percent higher in male chicks. The female embryos are then patched up before being returned to incubation, while the eggs containing male chicks are disposed of. Once automated, it is hoped the technique, which has an accuracy rate of 95 percent, will put an end to the current practice of shredding male chicks after birth...  

Credit: Stephan Wiegand, Dresden University of Technology

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About the Author
Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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