Building a Better Turkey

Building a better turkey through biotech

J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

Most of the turkeys gracing the nation’s dinner tables Thursday have been selectively bred for their white meat for so many generations that simply walking can be a problem for many of the big-breasted birds and sex is no longer possible.

A small research team is hoping to come to the rescue, employing the latest in biotechnology to chart the genetic map of America’s favorite Thanksgiving meal and eventually alleviate the breeding problems.


Surmounting the sex problem poses a bigger challenge. Because the toms’ breasts are so big, female turkeys need to be artificially inseminated. Identifying sex genes vital to reproduction would be a start, researchers say.

As Leopold’s current holiday caption contest shows a little inbreeding can be a terrible thing.

Meanwhile, some animal rights activists are decrying the genomic work as furthering what they see as a cruel process.

“That type of research is designed to make a bad situation a little less bad,” said Gene Bauston, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, which aims to prevent what it considers farm animal cruelty and promotes a vegan diet. “It doesn’t get to the problem that these animals are being treated as commodities and it’s generally done to fit the animal into the machinery of the factory farm.”

And of course the animal activists needed to weigh. The whole article had made my lose my appetite up until the point it got to people promoting a vegan diet. Now I’m going to make up a turkey sandwich.

Next years model

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

I just had to throw this picture in for good measure.

FILED UNDER: Humor, Science & Technology, , ,
Rodney Dill
About Rodney Dill
Rodney is an IT Implementation Consultant in the Motor City and working within the Automotive Industry. He contributed to OTB from November 2004 until retiring in July 2017, hosting some 1200 OTB Caption Contests.


  1. Cassandra says:

    Oh Good God Rodney. Now I have lost my appetite…

    It looks like a unicorn. Sadly, thousands of young girls have just gone out and lost their virginity out of fear that monstrosity would try to lay its head in their lap… [obscure mythological reference for the day]

  2. McGehee says:

    As the cameraman worked on getting the focus just right, soon-to-be-former CBS anchorman Dan rather waited for the makeup girl to start getting him ready for airtime.

    (What — that isn’t a caption contest photo?)

  3. Rodney Dill says:

    it’s a Turkicorn

  4. Cassandra says:

    Inexplicably, it bears a vague resemblance to Alan Colmes… perhaps that explains the reproachful look on the poor creature’s face.

  5. AllenS says:

    If you’re going to make any physical changes to the turkey, why not try to make them a little bit cuter. Something has to be done to that face.

  6. Coca Bogdan says:

    It’s looking very…very…very nice!