MANCHESTER - A chicken with 17 wings is more of an agricultural asset than a chicken with only two wings.
No Jessica Simpson, Buffalo wings don't come from buffalos, they come from chickens and ravenous Americans can't seem to get enough of them. Hopefully, in due time, hungry diners throughout the UK will feel the same about poultry's tiny tidbits. An English laboratory has come up with a new poultry strain that can't fly, but their wings certainly taste great.
THE BIG BUSINESS OF WINGING IT: "We've developed a hybrid chicken that we've been cloning over and over again," said Rufus T. Atticus, owner of Crown Agri-Labs, located just outside Manchester. "It looks very funny, all those wings sticking out all over the place, but we plan to make a killing at the slaughterhouse with this strange-looking poultry addition."
The company is also starting a chain of restaurants, Wings Gone Wild, which will begin with a modest five restaurants throughout the UK, with its flagship eatery located in downtown Manchester. In five years, Crown Agri-Labs, the parent company, intends to have more than 100 such restaurants throughout the United Kingdom.
"What hungry Englishman is going to order a ploughman's cheddar when there's wings to be had?" Atticus pointed out. "We fry, broil, and blast them with various kinds of heat after flavoring them with everything from dark chocolate to raspberries to coconut to the more traditional barbecue sauces - hot, medium, and mild. Wings Gone Wild will offer more than 150 flavors of wings and now you can sit in London and feel as if you're a cowboy in Texas. It's just a matter of taste," Atticus said.
"Although chicken wings haven't taken off as well in the UK as they have in America, these wings go great with beer, wine, and even strong spirits. Even with juices and sodas for children. If we have it our way, every pub in Great Britain will be cooking and frying them up for a voracious crowd knocking down the door, licking their lips, not wanting to wait for dinner," Atticus said.
ETHICAL CONCERNS: Cloning chickens brings with it some ethical questions, however. Will arrogant reckless humankind be satisfied just cloning chickens? How long before we begin creating nine-foot tall NBA basketball players or 3,200 pound sumo wrestlers? How's about intellectuals whose IQs would make Albert Einstein be nothing more than a bumbling idiot?
"Cloning chickens is the last thing the human race should be doing," said Manfred Seiglefreed, Ph.D., an Oxford Philosophy professor. "Throughout history, our race has used the wonders of science for the most nefarious of causes. The nuclear bomb is not the only such diabolical example. Creation of richer, sweeter ice creams is another. The result? Amorphous 600-pound embonpoints who only stand five feet tall. And let's not forget manipulating chemistry to make ales, whiskeys, and vodkas with enough fire power to knock down full-grown thoroughbred racehorses at mid-day."
The only advantage for cloning would be in using it as a tool to revive endangered species, as was the case in 2009 wherein a Pyrenean ibex, a wild mountain goat, was cloned after the species was declared extinct in 2000, Seiglefreed noted.
In July 1996, Dolly the sheep was cloned by the Roslin Institute (part of the University of Edinburgh and nearby biotechnological company PPL). Dolly's birth made her "the world's most famous sheep" thanks to the BBC News and Scientific American, but sadly, Dolly only lived six years. She died of a progressive lung disease. Some scientists blame Dolly's premature death on the ill effects of cloning; after a more thorough investigation, however, it was discovered Dolly was smoking three packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day. A farm hand who'd grown romantically involved with Dolly provided her with the tobacco, Seiglefreed said.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Crown Agri-Labs creates chickens from scratch, using the same biological techniques as in Dolly's creation. This involves somatic cell nuclear transfer, wherein the cell nucleus from an adult chicken cell is transferred into an unfertilized oocyte (a developing egg cell that has its nucleus removed).
The cloning of a chicken with 17 wings evolved through genetic manipulation. Prototypes to be bred with other poultry templates were developed through nothing less than freaks of nature incidences. Ancestors of chicken clones could be fitting to display at a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum at Grand Prairie, Texas, or Gatlinburg, Tenn.
First, a chicken with three wings was bred with a chicken with four wings. The result was a chicken with six wings. Then, an anomaly came out of the incubator: a chicken with seven wings. The chicken with seven wings was bred with a six-winged bird, spawning a nine-winged chicken. On and on went this process until finally, chickens with 17 wings were being hatched.
"We decided to stop there," Crown's Atticus explained. "We felt that we have an ethical responsibility not to overdo it and even more importantly, if we had continued the process to make chickens with 30-, 40-, or 50-some wings, the flavor and texture of the chicken wings would suffer."
FACILITIES AND SIDE BUSINESS: Crown Agri-Labs' farming facilities involve three humungous barns located in Iowa, along with two, 400.000-square-foot facilities in Nebraska. At present, 50 million of these lopsided birds are pecking away at chicken feed in the USA, as happy as poultry can possibly be - and they're only being raised for their wings.
"We grind up the other parts of these chickens into dog and cat food. The breast and thighs of the birds taste a lot like seal or whale meat. Terrible. Something went wrong with the process of cloning, that's evident.
"But dogs and cats don't seem to mind the taste. We've even developed two sister companies - Crown Dog Chow and Crown Kitty Dancing Delight - manufacturers and wholesalers of food for pets," Atticus explained.
Plans are in the making for Crown Shark Bait, as well. With chicken carcasses of cloned 17-winged birds tasting like shark and whale meat - most sharks' dietary staples - Atticus said his company can't resist implementing another subsidiary.