October 23, 2020

Highly efficient genome modification of cultured primordial germ cells with lentiviral vectors to generate transgenic songbirds

SUMARYThe ability to genetically manipulate organisms has led to significant insights in functional genomics in many species. In birds, manipulation of the genome is hindered by the inaccessibility of the one-cell embryo. During embryonic development, avian primordial germ cells (PGCs) migrate through the blood stream and reach the gonadal anlage; where they develop into mature germ cells. Here, we explored the use of PGCs to produce transgenic offspring in the zebra finch, which is a major animal model for sexual brain differentiation, vocal learning and vocal communication. Zebra finch PGCs (zfPGCs) obtained from embryonic blood significantly proliferated when cultured in an optimized culture medium and conserved the expression of germ and stem cell markers. Transduction of cultured zfPGCs with lentiviral vectors was highly efficient leading to strong expression of the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). Transduced zfPGCs were injected into the host embryo and transgenic songbirds were successfully generated.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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