Expression Analysis of Genes Putatively Involved in Chicken Gonadal Development


In mammals, testis development is initiated by the expression of the sex-determining gene, SRY, whereas the genetic trigger for sex determination in birds remains unknown. In the present study, the expression of seven genes implicated in vertebrate sex determination and differentiation were studied in chicken embryonic gonads from day 4 to day 12 of incubation using reverse transcription and the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results showed transcription of cLhx9, cGATA4, cVnn1, cPpt1, cBrd3 were sexually dimorphic during chicken gonadal development, whereas cEki2, cFog2 were expressed at similar levels in both sexes. Results of comparative studies between mammals and chickens show that vertebrate sex-determining pathways comprise both conserved and divergent elements: expression profiles of cGATA4/cFog2 and cVnn1 are similar to those in mammals, while others appear some differences. Possible functions of these genes on chicken gonadal development were analyzed based on their expression profiles.


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This work was supported by Hubei Project grant to the outstanding youth, Project of National Natural Science Foundation (30671494) and the 11th “Five-year Project” to tackling the Key Problems in Hubei province. Special appreciation goes to Professor David Gerrard, Department of Animal Science, Purdue University for his grammatically proofreading. And we thank Dr. Shen Shixue and Dr. Khairy M. Zoheir for critically reading and revising an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Y. Gong.

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Feng, Y., Zhang, S., Peng, X. et al. Expression Analysis of Genes Putatively Involved in Chicken Gonadal Development. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 58, 163–172 (2007).

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  • Gonadal development
  • sex determination
  • sex differentiation
  • RT-PCR
  • chicken