Avian Biotechnology

  • Yoshiaki NakamuraEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1001)


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) generate new individuals through differentiation, maturation and fertilization. This means that the manipulation of PGCs is directly linked to the manipulation of individuals, making PGCs attractive target cells in the animal biotechnology field. A unique biological property of avian PGCs is that they circulate temporarily in the vasculature during early development, and this allows us to access and manipulate avian germ lines. Following the development of a technique for transplantation, PGCs have become central to avian biotechnology, in contrast to the use of embryo manipulation and subsequent transfer to foster mothers, as in mammalian biotechnology. Today, avian PGC transplantation combined with recent advanced manipulation techniques, including cell purification, cryopreservation, depletion, and long-term culture in vitro, have enabled the establishment of genetically modified poultry lines and ex-situ conservation of poultry genetic resources. This chapter introduces the principles, history, and procedures of producing avian germline chimeras by transplantation of PGCs, and the current status of avian germline modification as well as germplasm cryopreservation. Other fundamental avian reproductive technologies are described, including artificial insemination and embryo culture, and perspectives of industrial applications in agriculture and pharmacy are considered, including poultry productivity improvement, egg modification, disease resistance impairment and poultry gene “pharming” as well as gene banking.


Artificial insemination Chickens Embryo culture Cryopreservation Genetic modification Gemline chimeras Poultry Primordial germ cells Transplantation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Germ Cell BiologyNational Institute for Basic BiologyOkazakiJapan

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