Primordial Germ Cell-Mediated Chimera Technology Produces Viable Pure-Line Houbara Bustard Offspring: Potential for Repopulating an Endangered Species

Milstone, David S. and Wernery, Ulrich and Liu, Chunhai and Baskar, Vijay and Guerineche, Zhor and Khazanehdari, Kamal A. and Saleem, Shazia and Kinne, Jörg and Wernery, Renate and Griffin, Darren K. and Chang, Il-Kuk (2010) Primordial Germ Cell-Mediated Chimera Technology Produces Viable Pure-Line Houbara Bustard Offspring: Potential for Repopulating an Endangered Species. PLoS ONE, 5 (12). e15824. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015824) (Full text available)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) is a wild seasonal breeding bird populating arid sandy semi-desert habitats in North Africa and the Middle East. Its population has declined drastically during the last two decades and it is classified as vulnerable. Captive breeding programmes have, hitherto, been unsuccessful in reviving population numbers and thus radical technological solutions are essential for the long term survival of this species. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of primordial germ cell-mediated chimera technology to produce viable Houbara bustard offspring. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Embryonic gonadal tissue was dissected from Houbara bustard embryos at eight days post-incubation. Subsequently, Houbara tissue containing gonadal primordial germ cells (gPGCs) was injected into White Leghorn chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) embryos, producing 83/138 surviving male chimeric embryos, of which 35 chimeric roosters reached sexual maturity after 5 months. The incorporation and differentiation of Houbara gPGCs in chimeric chicken testis were assessed by PCR with Houbara-specific primers and 31.3% (5/16) gonads collected from the injected chicken embryos showed the presence of donor Houbara cells. A total of 302 semen samples from 34 chimeric roosters were analyzed and eight were confirmed as germline chimeras. Semen samples from these eight roosters were used to artificially inseminate three female Houbara bustards. Subsequently, 45 Houbara eggs were obtained and incubated, two of which were fertile. One egg hatched as a male live born Houbara; the other was female but died before hatching. Genotyping confirmed that the male chick was a pure-line Houbara derived from a chimeric rooster. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates for the first time that Houbara gPGCs can migrate, differentiate and eventually give rise to functional sperm in the chimeric chicken testis. This approach may provide a promising tool for propagation and conservation of endangered avian species that cannot breed in captivity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Biosciences
Depositing User: Darren Griffin
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2013 09:03 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 09:17 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/34151 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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