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  • 1 Huazhong Agricultural University Key Laboratory of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Education 430070 Wuhan, Hubei P. R. China
  • 2 Wuhan Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science 430070 Wuhan, Hubei P. R. China
  • 3 Wuhan Animal Husbandry Science and Technology Extension Station 430016 Wuhan, Hubei P. R. China
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New technologies in gene transfer combined with experimental embryology make the chicken embryo an excellent model system for gene function studies. The techniques of in ovo electroporation, in vitro culture for ex ovo electroporation and retrovirus-mediated gene transfer have already been fully developed in chicken. Yet to our knowledge, there are no definite descriptions on the features and application scopes of these techniques. The survival rates of different in vitro culture methods were compared and the EGFP expression areas of different gene transfer techniques were explored. It was that the optimal timings of removing embryo for EC culture and Petri dish system was at E1.5 and E2.5, respectively; and optimal timing of injecting retrovirus is at E0. Results indicated that the EC culture, in ovo electroporation, the Petri dish system and retrovirus-mediated method are, respectively, suitable for the very early, early, late and whole embryonic stages in chicken. Comparison of different gene transfer methods and establishment of optimal timings are expected to provide a better choice of the efficient method for a particular experiment.

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