EC Culture

A Method to Culture Early Chick Embryos
  • Andrea Streit
Part of the METHODS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY™ book series (MIMB, volume 461)

1. Introduction

Avian embryos have been used as a model system to study development for more than two centuries and have proven to be particularly useful to study events that occur at early developmental stages, when other amniote species are difficult to access and maintain in vitro. They lend themselves to embryo-logical manipulation, such as interspecies tissue transplantation or cell lineage analysis as well as observation of cellular behavior in the living embryo. At the time of egg laying, the embryo is a large, translucent disc of approximately 50,000 cells that is easily accessible and develops well in vitro from before primitive streak formation. Two well-defined staging systems are available that describe preprimitive streak stages (using Roman numbers I–XIV [1]) and the stages after primitive streak formation (in Arabic numbers 2–46 [2]). With recent technical advances, like introduction of expression constructs, antisense RNA (morpholinos), and dsRNA by electroporation,...


Chick Embryo Ventral Side Primitive Streak Vitelline Membrane Glass Ring 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Andrew Bailey for assistance with photography and Claudio Stern for useful comments on the manuscript.


  1. 1.
    Eyal-Giladi H, Kochav S (1976) From cleavage to primitive streak formation: a complementary normal table and a new look at the first stages of the development of the chick. Devl Biol 49:321–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hamburger V, Hamilton HL (1951) A series of normal stages in the development of the chick. J Morph 88:49–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    McWhorter JE, Whipple HO (1912) The development of the blastoderm of the chick in vitro. Anat Rec 6:121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Waddington CH (1932) Experiments on the development of chick and duck embryos, cultivated in vitro. Phil Trans Roy Soc Lond B. 221:179–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Spratt NT (1947a) Development in vitro of the early chick blastoderm explanted on yolk and albumen extract saline-agar substrata. J Exp Zool 106:345–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Spratt NT (1947b) A simple method for explanting and cultivating early chick embryos in vitro. Science 106:452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Spratt NT, Haas H (1960a) Morphogenetic movements in the lower surface of the unincubated and early chick blastoderm. J Exp Zool 144:139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Spratt NT, Haas H (1960b) Integrative mechanisms in development of the early chick blastoderm, I. Regulative potentiality of separated parts. J Exp Zool 145:97–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    De Haan RL (1967) Avian embryo culture. In: Wilt FH, Wessels NK (eds) Methods in developmental biology. Thomas Y. Crowell, New York, pp. 401–412.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    New DAT (1955) A new technique for the cultivation of the chick embryo in vitro. J Embryol Exp Morph 3:326–331.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stern CD (1993). Avian embryos. In: Stern CD, Holland PWH (eds) Essential developmental biology: a practical approach. IRL Press at Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 45–54.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Stern CD, Bachvarova R (1997) Early chick embryos in vitro. Int J Develop Biol 41:379–387.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nicolet G, Gallera J. (1961) Quelques commentaires sur les méthodes de culture in vitro de jeunes blastodermes de poulet. Experientia 17:134–135.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    De Carli HO (1965) Acción de la heparina sobre el tubo neural del embrión de pollo: Nueva técnica de cultivo de embrión de pollo in vitro. Rev Soc Argent Biol 41:19–23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kučera, P, Burnand M-B (1987) Routine teratogeniCity test that uses chick embryos in vitro. Teratogenesis, Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis 7:427–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Seidl W (1977) Description of a device facilitating the in vitro culture of chick embryo according to the New method. Folia Morphologica (Praha) 25:43–45.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stern CD, Ireland GW (1981) An integrated experimental study of endoderm formation in avian embryos. Anat Embryol 163:245–263.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Connolly D, McNaughton LA, Krumlauf R, Cooke J (1995) Improved in vitro development of the chick embryo using roller-tube culture. Trends Genet 11:259–260.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    New DAT (1959) The adhesive properties and expansion of the chick blastoderm. J Embryol Exp Morph 7:146–164.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stern CD, Bellairs R (1984) The roles of node regression and elongation of the area pellucida in the formation of somites in avian embryos. J Embryol Exp Morph 81:75–92.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Chapman SC, Collignon J, Schoenwolf FC, Lumsden A (2001) Improved method for chick whole-embryo culture using a filter paper carrier. Dev Dyn 220:284–289.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pannett CA, Compton A (1924). The cultivation of tissues in saline embryonic juice. Lancet 206:381–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Streit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Craniofacial DevelopmentKing's College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations