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Primordial germ cell-mediated transgenesis and genome editing in birds

Han, Jae Yong, Park, Young Hyun
Journal of animal science and biotechnology 2018 v.9 no.1 pp. 19
birds, gene editing, genes, genetically modified organisms, germ cells, humans, in vitro culture, models, stem cells, transgenesis
Transgenesis and genome editing in birds are based on a unique germline transmission system using primordial germ cells (PGCs), which is quite different from the mammalian transgenic and genome editing system. PGCs are progenitor cells of gametes that can deliver genetic information to the next generation. Since avian PGCs were first discovered in nineteenth century, there have been numerous efforts to reveal their origin, specification, and unique migration pattern, and to improve germline transmission efficiency. Recent advances in the isolation and in vitro culture of avian PGCs with genetic manipulation and genome editing tools enable the development of valuable avian models that were unavailable before. However, many challenges remain in the production of transgenic and genome-edited birds, including the precise control of germline transmission, introduction of exogenous genes, and genome editing in PGCs. Therefore, establishing reliable germline-competent PGCs and applying precise genome editing systems are critical current issues in the production of avian models. Here, we introduce a historical overview of avian PGCs and their application, including improved techniques and methodologies in the production of transgenic and genome-edited birds, and we discuss the future potential applications of transgenic and genome-edited birds to provide opportunities and benefits for humans.