Applications of genetically altered chick embryos: significance for the 3Rs

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The chicken embryo is an important model in various research fields, including the aetiology and treatment of human diseases. As chicken embryos are not protected animals until day 14 of development/incubation, their experimental use provides many opportunities to replace other protected vertebrate model organisms, such as mice, consequently reducing the number of animals used for research. Indeed, the early stages of chicken embryo development and the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) are increasingly used alongside, and as an alternative, to in vivo mouse studies in a wide range of biomedical fields. Historically there have been fewer genetically altered (GA) chicken lines compared with other model organisms. In recent years there have been major advances in developing transgenic and gene editing technologies in the chicken, which augment the usefulness of the chicken embryo as a research model. The National Avian Research Facility maintains a unique range of GA chicken lines and has world leading expertise in gene editing of chickens, providing these resources to researchers based at The Roslin Institute and other research organisations. In this talk, I will outline the broad applications of GA chicken embryos and the opportunities provided by novel gene-edited chicken lines, that may be particularly useful for the CAM assay. In addition, I will discuss broader 3Rs considerations for the use of GA chickens, and consider issues relating to experimental design, repeatability and replicability in research that uses chicken embryos.
Held atUniversity of Strathclyde, United Kingdom