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Dev Genet. 1996;19(4):290-301.

Origin of primordial germ cells in the prestreak chick embryo.

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Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


The temporal and spatial pattern of segregation of the avian germline from the formation of the area pellucida to the beginning of primitive streak formation (stages VII-XIV, EG&K) was investigated using the culture of whole embryos and central and peripheral embryo fragments on vitelline membranes at stages VII-IX, immunohistological analysis of whole mount embryos and sections with monoclonal antibodies MC-480 against stage-specific embryonic antigen-1 (SSEA-1) and EMA-1, and with the culture of dispersed blastoderms at stages IX-XIV with and without on STO feeder layer. Whole embryos at intrauterine stages developed up to the formation of the primitive streak despite the absence of area pellucida expansion. Primordial germ cells (PGCs) appeared in the cultures of whole embryos and only in central fragments containing a partially formed area pellucida at stages VII-IX. When individual stage IX-XIV embryos were dispersed and cultured without a feeder layer, 25-45 PGCs/embryo were detected only with stage X-XIV, but not with stage IX blastoderms. However, the culture of dispersed cells from the area pellucida of stages IX-XIII on STO feeder layers yielded about 150 PGCs/embryo. The carbohydrate epitopes recognized by anti-SSEA-1 and EMA-1 first appeared at stage X on cells in association with polyingressing cells on the ventral surface of the epiblast and later on the dorsal surface of the hypoblast. The SSEA-1-positive hypoblast cells gave rise to chicken PGCs when cultured on a feeder layer of quail blastodermal cells. From these observations, we propose that the segregation and development of avian germline is a gradual, epigenetic process associated with the translocation of SSEA-1/EMA-1-positive cells from the ventral surface of the area pellucida at stage X to the dorsal side of the hypoblast at stages XI-XIV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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