Genetic manipulation of the avian urogenital system using in ovo electroporation

Claire E. Hirst, Olivier Serralbo, Katie L. Ayers, Kelly N Roeszler, Craig A. Smith

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


One of the advantages of the avian embryo as an experimental model is its in ovo development and hence accessibility for genetic manipulation. Electroporation has been used extensively in the past to study gene function in chicken and quail embryos. Readily accessible tissues such as the neural tube, somites, and limb bud, in particular, have been targeted. However, more inaccessible tissues, such as the embryonic urogenital system, have proven more challenging to study. Here, we describe the use of in ovo electroporation of TOL2 vectors or RCASBP avian viral vectors for the rapid functional analysis of genes involved in avian sex determination and urogenital development. In the context of the developing urogenital system, these vectors have inherent advantages and disadvantages, which will be considered here. Either vector can both be used for mis-expressing a gene and for targeting endogenous gene knockdown via expression of short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs). Both of these vectors integrate into the genome and are hence spread throughout developing tissues. Going forward, electroporation could be combined with CRISPR/Cas9 technology for targeted genome editing in the avian urogenital system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAvian and Reptilian Developmental Biology
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)10643745


  • DMRT1
  • Embryonic chicken gonad
  • In ovo electroporation
  • Müllerian duct
  • Ovary
  • Sex determination
  • Testis
  • Urogenital system

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