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Real-Time Sexing of Chicken Embryos and Compatibility with in ovo Protocols

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    Rights statement: © 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY). Usage, derivative works and distribution are permitted provided that proper credit is given to the author and the original publisher.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
JournalSexual Development
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


The chicken embryo is an established model system for studying early vertebrate development. One of the major advantages of this model is the facility to perform manipulations in ovo and then continue incubation and observe the effects on embryonic development. However, in common with other vertebrate models, there is a tendency to disregard the sex of the experimental chicken embryos, and this can lead to erroneous conclusions, a lack of reproducibility, and wasted efforts. That this neglect is untenable is emphasised by the recent demonstration that avian cells and tissues have an inherent sex identity and that male and female tissues respond differently to the same stimulus. These sexually dimorphic characteristics dictate that analyses and manipulations involving chicken embryos should always be performed using tissues/embryos of known sex. Current sexing protocols are unsuitable in many instances because of the time constraints imposed by most in ovo procedures. To address this lack, we have developed a real-time chicken sexing assay that is compatible with in ovo manipulations, reduces the number of embryos required, and conserves resources.

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