Researchers believe that the key to feeding a growing global population is a chicken that can take the heat.
A team of scientists from the University of Delaware, beginning in fall 2012, studied the genetic makeup of the African naked-neck chicken and whether its ability to survive heat stress and other conditions of a warmer climate could be bred into American broiler chickens.
“We are dealing with the challenge of difficult weather conditions,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Los Angeles Times. “At the same time, we have to massively increase food production,” Vilsack said, to meet the demands of larger populations.
Warmer temperatures, the L.A. Times explains, would make chickens and other farm animals more susceptible to disease, while producers can lose whole stocks to heat waves.