Blind Chickens See Again
Open the podcast “Quirks & Quarks – May 27, 2006” from CBC Radio and answer the following questions.
If you are doing this from home then you can get this podcast in two different ways:
1. Open iTunes on your computer
> select on the left
> type “Quirks & Quarks” in the search box
> select the segmented podcast to download.
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2. Or go to the CBC website: http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/ and select
Subscribe to iTunes on the left side.
This will open up iTunes on your computer. Select “Blind Chicken See
Once you have the podcast on your computer you can either listen to it on your computer or download it to
Answer the following questions while listening to the podcast “Blind Chicken See Again”.
1. What is the name of the host?
2. What type of bird is born with a genetic defect to make it blind when
Road Island Red
3. What university is Dr. Sue Semple-Roland an associate professor of
University of Florida (McKnight Brain Institute)
4. What causes the blindness in the chickens?
key protein to make retina be able to change light to signals for the
brain to understand is absent
mutation in the gene for it not to work at all and therefore the proteins
5. What are the photoreceptors?
rods and cones
6. Which animal has more cones than chickens?
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7. What percentage of the photoreceptors of the chicken are cone cells?
8. What percentage of the photoreceptors in humans are cones?
9. Where are cones located in humans?
central location called the macula
10. How did Dr. Sue Semple-Roland and here colleagues go about to restore the sight of these chickens?
the chicken carries a defective gene
put back a normal copy of the gene
create a virus that affects the cell and delivers the new genes to the cell’s genome
11. When is this virus introduced to the chicken?
inside the embryo, early in development
12. How does one create a sight test for chickens?
put black dots on a white piece of paper and see if it pecks at the dots
13. What were the final results after the eggs hatched?
injected 7 animals
6 could see
1 lost sight by the end of the study
14. What happened after 4 months?
the chickens began to lose their sight
15. What made the gene therapy work and then fade out?
some to the cells where not treated so that had a negative impact on the cells that were treated
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16. What does this all mean to helping restore sight to humans?
several genes that cause blindness in children
gene therapy will be tried on humans in the next year
17. How are the scientists going to do this with humans?
there is a window of time when this can be done
when blindness precedes retinal degeneration there is a window of opportunity when inter-ocular
injections could occur
this could happen to a child
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