Next, the Turducken: Scientists Say a Duck Has Fathered a Chicken

The dream of Thanksgiving enthusiasts everywhere is halfway to reality.

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Anthony Lee / Getty Images

Correction Appended: Mar. 20, 2013

The Turducken — a duck stuffed inside a chicken stuffed inside a turkey — is a mythical culinary beast and the dream entree of Thanksgiving obsessives everywhere. And now, science is on its way towards making the Turducken a reality — sort of: a duck has successfully fathered a chicken at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai.

(MORE: Alternative Thanksgiving Recipes from the World’s Top Chefs)

Researchers injected a chicken’s germ cells — carrying DNA to produce eggs and sperm — into the reproductive organs of a male duck embryo; once the duck matured, it began to produce the chicken’s sperm. Initially looking to genetically modify chicken to produce more fertile hens (the global poultry industry currently maintains some 50 billion chickens), these scientists are now planning to use this technique to allow hens to lay eggs of other birds, including ducks, songbirds, hawks or eagles.

The ultimate goal is to “use this system to propagate endangered species or potentially bring back an extinct one,” according to a recent TEDx talk by Mike McGrew, a scientist at the Roslin Institute who collaborates extensively with the Dubai team. Roslin Institute researchers have also created genetically modified chickens that prevent the spread of bird flu and — most notably — Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal.

(MORE: Scientists Clone Extinct Frog that Upchucks Its Own Young)

The original version of this article and its headline incorrectly stated that British researchers have successfully made a duck inside a chicken. Scientists in Dubai are conducting this project, and a duck has fathered a chicken. 

102 comments
Nass
Nass

@itanio sounds like we are going to hear about a goat fathering a camel very soon.

jeffkarp
jeffkarp

"... a duck stuffed inside a chicken stuffed inside a turkey ..." 

Given that the average duck is a lot larger than the average chicken, shouldn't the order be chicken -> duck -> turkey?

mrs703
mrs703

@roosterpisces QUACK! Let's hear it for genetic engineering! And then let's go hide . . . (Good morning Ms. Clucker!) @dlb703

mfritz0
mfritz0

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a chicken?  What is it?

LugubriousLarry
LugubriousLarry

“%s: Scientists Say a Duck Has Fathered a Chicken %spLk v%se%sn%sure” Inherently funny?!

DavidAxis
DavidAxis

@CoraxSays Duck claims scientist fathered the Chicken . Has Eggsistential video of which came first .

Jenna98178
Jenna98178

@TIME @TIMENewsFeed wish they would stop "making" new animals & concentrate on being good stewards of ALL species we already have.

johnghatton
johnghatton

And the age-old question, what came first, is answered! The egg.  And I'll be the first to gloat, I knew it all along.

MrMillCity
MrMillCity

“%s: A duck has fathered a chicken: %stWn” The look on the drake's face was priceles%sard

willouj
willouj

@GeekyJules I'm not gonna lie, I read that as farted instead of fathered. I was...extremely confused.

alexbstewart
alexbstewart

Turducken “%s: A duck has fathered a chicken: Time to call ‘Jerry Spring-Hen’ | %sW79 (v%seed%s50Z

TeenaMayzing
TeenaMayzing

"The goal - 2propagate endangered species or potentially bring back an extinct 1" @TIME did they NOT c Jurassic Park? ti.me\/15snYUDttv

tansychau
tansychau

%s that's unreal! and I always thought a %s was a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey!!

heynyss
heynyss

Where you at Maury? RT @TIME: Scientists say a duck has fathered a chicken. We hope the chicken's dad is a turkey | ti.me\/15snYUDLxw

heynyss
heynyss

Where you at Maury? @TIME: Scientists say a duck has fathered a chicken. We hope the chicken's dad is a turkey | ti.me\/15snYUDLxw

GeekyJules
GeekyJules

@willouj BWAHAHAHAHA. I did similar the other day with "Soldier involved in fatal accident." I read "fatal" as "fetal"