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Innovative Approaches to Genome Editing in Chickens


Obtaining productive animals, including chickens, with specified characteristics is a promising area of modern animal husbandry. The most relevant traits for chickens are increased meat and egg productivity, resistance to infectious diseases, products with reduced allergenicity, and the production of integrated transgenic proteins. The rapidly developing methods of molecular genetics, such as genome editing, allow for solving these problems. In birds, unlike mammals, access to the unicellular zygote—when editing the genome is most effective—is difficult due to the special structure of the reproductive system. As a result, innovative methods have been developed for genetic engineering of birds, the most common of which is the use of primordial germ cells (PGC), precursors of poultry reproductive cells. This review provides a brief description and discussion of modern methods of editing the chicken genome using endonucleases, such as transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN) and the system of clustered short palindromic repeats CRISPR/Cas9. Particular attention is paid to methods of gene editing in birds using primordial germ cells (PGC). Various strategies for the delivery of guide RNA (gRNA) and Cas9 protein into poultry cells based on the use of plasmid vectors, an alternative method of delivery of genetic constructs using spermatozoa (STAGE), the RNP method, which consists in direct delivery of gRNA and Cas9 protein in the form of a complex ribonucleoproteins, and the RNP method based on the use of nanobubbles were considered.

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The study was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 20-76-10006).

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Correspondence to O. Yu. Barkova.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Translated by P. Kuchina

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Barkova, O.Y., Larkina, T.A., Krutikova, A.A. et al. Innovative Approaches to Genome Editing in Chickens. Cytol. Genet. 56, 196–207 (2022).

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  • genome editing
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • NHEJ (nonhomologous end joining)
  • HDR (homologous direct reduction)
  • primary germ cells (PGC)
  • chicken embryo