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Better Turkeys Through Biotechnology

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Selectively breeding turkeys for their white meat over so many generations has led to some health care problems for America´s favorite holiday meal.

Simply walking can be laborious for many of the big-breasted gobblers and some can´t have sex.

But a small research team is working to make life better for the turkey.

Armed with the latest technology, the researchers are attempting to chart the bird´s genetic map, eventually alleviating the breeding problems.

They want to identify the specific genes that produce desirable traits, such as strong leg muscles, salmonella resistance and, of course, big breasts.

But it´s slow going for the turkey.

With only one-million-dollars in funding, researchers hope to have a guide to roughly six-hundred turkey genes by next Thanksgiving.

That´s far short of the 25-thousand genes each gobbler is estimated to possess.