Investigation of the Guinea fowl and domestic fowl hybrids as potential surrogate hosts for avian cryopreservation programmes

Mariann Molnár, Bence Lázár, Nikoletta Sztán, Barbara Végi, Árpád Drobnyák, Roland Tóth, Krisztina Liptói, Miklós Marosán, Elen Gócza, Sunil Nandi, Michael J McGrew, Eszter Patakiné Várkonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last decade, avian gene preservation research has focused on the use of the early precursors of the reproductive cells, the primordial germ cells (PGCs). This is because avian PGCs have a unique migration route through the vascular system which offers easy accessibility. Furthermore, culturing of the cells in vitro, freezing/thawing, reintegration into a recipient embryo and the development of the germ cells can be carried out in well-defined laboratory circumstances. The efficient recovery of the donor genotype and the frequency of germline transmission from the surrogate host animals are still areas which need further development. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate an infertile interspecific hybrid (recipient) as an appropriate host for primordial germ cells from native poultry breeds. Guinea fowl × chicken hybrids were produced, the crossing was repeated inversely. The phenotype, the hatching time, the hatching rate, the sex ratio, the presence of own germ cells, the fertility and the phenotype of viable hybrids and the incidence of chromosomal abnormalities of dead hybrid embryos were described. 6.65% viable offspring was obtained with crossing of Guinea fowl females with domestic fowl males. Crossing of domestic fowl hens with Guinea fowl male resulted in lower fertility, 0.14% viable offspring. Based on the investigations, the observed offspring from the successful crossing were sterile male hybrids, thus an extreme form of Haldane's rule was manifested. The sterile hybrid male embryos were tested by injecting fluorescently labeled chicken PGCs. The integration rate of labeled PGCs was measured in 7.5-day, 14.5-day and 18.5-day old embryonic gonads. 50%, 5.3% and 2.4% of the injected hybrid embryos survived and 40%, 5.3% and 2.4% of the examined gonads contained fluorescent labeled donor PGCs. Therefore, these sterile hybrid males may be suitable recipients for male PGCs and possibly for female PGCs although with lower efficiency. This research work shows that the sterility of hybrids can be used in gene conservation to be a universal host for PGCs of different avian species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14284
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


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