Gamma-irradiation depletes endogenous germ cells and increases donor cell distribution in chimeric chickens

Kyung Je Park, Seok Jin Kang, Tae Min Kim, Young Mok Lee, Hyung Chul Lee, Gwonhwa Song, Jae Yong Han

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The production of chimeric birds is an important tool for the investigation of vertebrate development, the conservation of endangered birds, and the development of various biotechnological applications. This study examined whether gamma (γ)-irradiation depletes endogenous primordial germ cells and enhances the efficiency of somatic chimerism in chickens. An optimal irradiation protocol for stage X embryos was determined after irradiation at various doses (0, 100, 300, 500, 600, 700, and 2,000 rad). Exposure to 500 rad of γ-irradiation for 73 s significantly decreased the number of primordial germ cells (P∈<∈0.0001). Somatic chimera hatchlings were then produced by transferring blastodermal cells from a Korean Oge into either an irradiated (at 500 rad) or intact stage X White Leghorn embryo. An analysis of feather color pattern and polymerase chain reaction-based species-specific amplification of various tissues of the hatchlings confirmed chimerism in most organs of the chick produced from the irradiated recipient; a lesser degree of chimerism was observed in the non-irradiated control recipient. In conclusion, the exposure of chick embryos to an optimized dose of γ-irradiation effectively depleted germ cells and yielded greater somatic chimerism than non-irradiated control embryos. This technique can be applied to interspecies reproduction or the production of transgenic birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-833
Number of pages6
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by a grant from the Basic Science Research Program (KRF-2006-311-F00087) and the World Class University program (R31-10056) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), Korea. Gamma-irradiation was conducted at the National Center for Inter-University Research Facilities at Seoul National University.


  • Chimera
  • Gamma (γ)-irradiation
  • Primordial germ cells (PGCs)
  • Stage X embryos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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