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Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1082:253-66. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-655-9_17.

RNAi-based gene silencing in chicken brain development.

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Institute of Molecular Life Sciences and Neuroscience Center Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


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 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-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 for RNAi in ovo or cultured in a domed dish for easier access during ex ovo RNAi. Both techniques allow for precise temporal control of gene silencing during embryonic development.

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