Manipulation of Developmental Function in Turtles with Notes on Alligators

  • Jacqueline E. Moustakas-Verho
  • Rebecca McLennan
  • Jennifer Spengler
  • Paul M. Kulesa
  • Judith A. Cebra-Thomas
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1920)


Reptiles have great taxonomic diversity that is reflected in their morphology, ecology, physiology, modes of reproduction, and development. Interest in comparative and evolutionary developmental biology makes protocols for the study of reptile embryos invaluable resources. The relatively large size, seasonal breeding, and long gestation times of turtles epitomize the challenges faced by the developmental biologist. We describe protocols for the preparation of turtle embryos for ex ovo culture, electroporation, in situ hybridization, and microcomputed tomography. Because these protocols have been adapted and optimized from methods used for frog, chick, and mouse embryos, it is likely that they could be used for other reptilian species. Notes are included for alligator embryos where appropriate.

Key words

Turtle In situ hybridization Electroporation Ex ovo culture Embryology Microcomputed tomography Alligator 



This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (JEM-V), Stowers Institute for Medical Research (RM, PMK), and NSF grant IOS-145177 (JACT). We are grateful to Kevin Padian, Richard Harland, Marvalee Wake, Scott Gilbert, Concordia Turtle Farm, Kliebert’s Turtle & Alligator Farm, and Ruth M. Elsey and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline E. Moustakas-Verho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rebecca McLennan
    • 3
  • Jennifer Spengler
    • 3
    • 4
  • Paul M. Kulesa
    • 3
    • 5
  • Judith A. Cebra-Thomas
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of BiotechnologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Stowers Institute for Medical ResearchKansas CityUSA
  4. 4.Biology DepartmentMillersville UniversityMillersvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Kansas School of MedicineKansas CityUSA

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