Gene Silencing in Chicken Brain Development
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.
KeywordsNeural development Cerebellum Chicken embryo Artificial miRNA RNA interference Electroporation Gene silencing