The eggs laid by a group of "pampered" hens in theUK contain something special in their whites.
After researchers from the University of Edinburghspliced a human gene into the chickens' DNA, theanimals began laying eggs boasting a significantamount of two proteins used to treat diseasesincluding cancer in humans - and the process, theysay, is far cheaper than current methods of proteinproduction.
"Production from chickens can cost anywhere from 10 to 100 times less than the factories," researcher Lissa Herron told the BBC. "So hopefully we'll be looking at at least 10 times loweroverall manufacturing cost."
The human body naturally produces the proteins found in the new hen eggs - IFNalpha2a andmacrophage-CSF, if you're wondering - and they each play an important role in the immunesystem.
人体天然就会制造这些鸡蛋中的那两种蛋白质——你可能好奇它们叫什么，它们叫IFNalpha2a 和 macrophage-CSF——它们都在免疫系统里起着重要的作用。
Drugs containing both proteins are widely used by doctors to treat cancers and other diseases, but producing the proteins in the lab is difficult and expensive.
The genetically modified chickens, which live "pampered" lives in large pens, are none thewiser either, according to Herron. "As far as the chicken knows, it's just laying a normal egg," she told the BBC.
"It doesn't affect its health in any way, it's just chugging away, laying eggs as normal."
Though their research yielded promising results, the team believes it'd take between 10 and 20 years before regulatory agencies would approve for human use any drugs developed fromtheir genetically modified chickens.