1Chemical Engineering, McGill University, 2Montreal Heart Institute
The chicken embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus) provides an economical and accessible model for developmental biology research. Chicks develop rapidly and are amenable to genetic and physiological manipulations, allowing researchers to investigate developmental pathways down to the cell and molecular levels.
This video review of chick development begins by describing the process of egg fertilization and formation within the chicken reproductive tract. Next, the most commonly used chick staging nomenclature, the Hamburger Hamilton staging series, is introduced. Major events in chick development are then outlined, including the dramatic cellular movements known as gastrulation that form the three major cell layers: The ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. Cells from these layers go on to generate all the tissues within the organism, as well as extraembryonic membranes, which are necessary for the transport of gases, nutrients, and wastes within the eggshell. To conclude the discussion, some exciting techniques will be presented as strategies for studying chick development in greater detail.…
The chicken embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus) is an extremely valuable model organism for research in developmental biology, in part because most of their development takes place within an egg that is incubated outside of the mother. As a result, early developmental stages can be accessed, visualized and manipulated by simply creating a small hole in the eggshell. Since billions of chickens are raised worldwide for meat and egg production, scientists can easily and economically acquire large numbers of fertilized eggs throughout the year. Furthermore, chickens share significant genetic conservation with humans, so the genetic mechanisms that have been found to regulate chicken development are also relevant to our own biology.
This video focuses on introducing the domesticated chicken as a scientific model. The discussion begins with a review of chicken phylogeny, revealing the features that make them amniotes, like other birds, reptiles, and mammals. Highlights from the millennia of chicken research will be presented, ranging from Aristotle’s postulates about the function of extra-embryonic membranes to more recent, Nobel-prize winning discoveries in neuroscience. Additionally, some current examples of studies performed in chicken embryos will be provided, such as in vivo tracking of cell movements during development and the recruitment of…
One strength of the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) as a model organism for developmental biology is that the embryo develops outside the female and is easily accessible for experimental manipulation. Many techniques allow scientists to examine chicken embryos inside the eggshell (in ovo), but embryonic access can be limited at later stages of development. Fortunately, chicks can also be cultured ex ovo, or outside of the eggshell. The major advantage to ex ovo culture is greater access to tissues that might otherwise be obstructed by the shell or the orientation of the chick within the egg, especially for embryos in later stages of development.
There are two principle strategies to ex ovo culture: whole yolk culture and explant culture. During whole yolk culture, the eggshell is cracked and the contents are transferred to a simple housing vessel. However, in explant culture methods, the embryo is excised from the yolk and mounted in the housing vessel to maintain membrane tension, which is important for normal development.
Basic protocols for whole-yolk and explant techniques will be provided in this video, along with a discussion of the pros and cons of culturing chicks outside of the shell. Finally, experimental applications of ex ovo culture will be discussed, demonstrating how this …