Gene Silencing in Chicken Brain Development

  • Georgia Tsapara
  • Irwin Andermatt
  • Esther T. StoeckliEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2047)


Despite the development of brain organoids and neural cultures derived from iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells), brain development can only be studied in an animal. The mouse is the most commonly used vertebrate model for the analysis of gene function because of the well-established genetic tools that are available for loss-of-function studies. However, studies of gene function during development can be problematic in mammals. Many genes are active during different stages of development. Absence of gene function during early development may cause aberrant neurogenesis or even embryonic lethality and thus prevent analysis of later stages of development. To avoid these problems, precise temporal control of gene silencing is required.

In contrast to mammals, oviparous animals are accessible for experimental manipulations during embryonic development. The combination of accessibility and RNAi- or Crispr/Cas9-based gene silencing makes the chicken embryo a powerful model for developmental studies. Depending on the time window during which gene silencing is attempted, chicken embryos can be used in ovo or ex ovo in a domed dish for easier access during later stages of development. Both techniques allow for precise temporal control of gene silencing during embryonic development.


Neural development Cerebellum Chicken embryo Artificial miRNA RNA interference Electroporation Gene silencing 



We thank Evelyn Avilés and Nicole Wilson for their help in Figs. 2 and 4. Work in the laboratory of E.S. is supported by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgia Tsapara
    • 1
  • Irwin Andermatt
    • 1
  • Esther T. Stoeckli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Neuroscience Center Zurich, Institute of Molecular Life SciencesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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