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Personal profile


Our group takes a comparative approach to developmental biology, using the chicken embryo to study the genetic regulation of organogenesis and disease. Since development occurs outside the maternal body, chicken embryos can be readily accessed and genetically manipulated. Recent technical advances coupled with the sequencing of the chicken genome combine to make the avian embryo a powerful model for functional genomics. Specifically, we study gonadal and limb development. The research in our lab involves both established and cutting edge methods of molecular and developmental biology. We are particularly interested in Evolutionary Developmental Biology (so-called "Evo-Devo"), focusing on how developmental mechanisms have evolved in animals. Both the embryonic gonads and the limbs provide ideal models for exploring questions related to Evo-Devo.

Research area keywords

  • Sex Determination
  • gonads
  • chicken

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Projects 2016 2022

Research Output 1993 2018

2 Citations (Scopus)

Gonadal and Endocrine Analysis of a Gynandromorphic Chicken

Morris, K. R., Hirst, C. E., Major, A. T., Ezaz, T., Ford, M., Bibby, S., Doran, T. J. & Smith, C. A., 1 Oct 2018, In : Endocrinology. 159, 10, p. 3492-3502 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Sex determination and gonadal sex differentiation in the chicken model

Hirst, C. E., Major, A. T. & Smith, C. A., 1 Jan 2018, In : International Journal of Developmental Biology. 62, 1-3, p. 153-166 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

The cell biology and molecular genetics of Müllerian duct development

Roly, Z. Y., Backhouse, B., Cutting, A. D., Tan, T. Y., Sinclair, A. H., Ayers, K. L., Major, A. T. & Smith, C. A., 1 May 2018, In : Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology. 7, 3, 13 p., e310.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Co-option of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2.5 during development of the emu wing

Farlie, P. G., Davidson, N. M., Baker, N. L., Raabus, M., Roeszler, K. N., Hirst, C., Major, A., Mariette, M. M., Lambert, D. M., Oshlack, A. & Smith, C. A., 1 Dec 2017, In : Nature Communications. 8, 1, 12 p., 132.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
3 Citations (Scopus)

Genetic manipulation of the avian urogenital system using in ovo electroporation

Hirst, C. E., Serralbo, O., Ayers, K. L., Roeszler, K. N. & Smith, C. A., 2017, Avian and Reptilian Developmental Biology. Humana Press, Vol. 1650. p. 177-190 14 p. (Methods in Molecular Biology; vol. 1650).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review