The chicken (taxon-Gallus gallus) embryo develops and hatches in 20-21 days and has been extensively used in embryology studies.
Chicken embryo (56h development HH stage 16-17)
Fertilized eggs can be easily maintained in humidified incubators and during early stages of development the embryo floats on to of the egg yolk that it is using for nutrition. As the embryo grows it sinks into, or below the, yolk. The regular appearance of somites allowed early experimenters to acurately stage the embryo. The embryo was accessible and easy to manipulate (limb grafts/removal etc) that were informative about developmental processes. Chicken cells and tissues (neural ganglia/fragments) are also easy to grow in tissue culture. The discovery that quail cells have a different nuclear appearance meant that transplanted cells (chick/quail chimeras) could be tracked during development. For example, LeDourian's studies showed how neural crest cells migrate widely throughout the embryo.
Page Links: Introduction | Chicken Related Pages | Some Recent Findings | Hamburger & Hamilton Stages | Taxonomy - Gallus gallus | Other Chicken Atlases | Bird Evolution | Sex Determination | Chicken Genomics | Web Links | References |
Chicken HH Stages contains the Hamburger & Hamilton staging of normal chicken embryo development
(see also below on current page).
Chick 2 images of selected stages of chicken development from class slides. Early Chicken Dev includes papers related to early chicken development features such as primitive streak formation, somitogenesis and neuralation.
Heart Movies: Early Embryonic Chick Heart research movies on abnormal heart development following neural crest ablation.
Left-Right - Garic-Stankovic A, Hernandez M, Flentke GR, Zile MH, Smith SM. A ryanodine receptor-dependent Cai2+ asymmetry at Hensen's node mediates avian lateral identity. Development. 2008 Oct;135(19):3271-80.
"In mouse, the establishment of left-right (LR) asymmetry requires intracellular calcium (Ca(i)(2+)) enrichment on the left of the node. We report here that the avian embryo uses a left-side enriched Ca(i)(2+) asymmetry across Hensen's node to govern its lateral identity."
Mesoderm - Iimura T, Yang X, Weijer CJ, Pourquie O. Dual mode of paraxial mesoderm formation during chick gastrulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 13;
"The skeletal muscles and axial skeleton of vertebrates derive from the embryonic paraxial mesoderm. ...fate mapping further shows that the paraxial mesoderm territory in the epiblast is regionalized along the anteroposterior axis as in lower vertebrates. These observations suggest that the mechanisms responsible for paraxial mesoderm formation are largely conserved across vertebrates."
Heart - Martinsen BJ. Reference guide to the stages of chick heart embryology. Dev Dyn. 2005 Aug;233(4):1217-37.
Hamburger & Hamilton staged the chicken embryo in 1951. The original
paper had approx 25 citations between 1955 - 59, while in the year 1991 alone
there were over 300 citations. Series of Embryonic Chicken Growth.
J. Morphology, 88 49 - 92 (1951). Atlas recently republished by J.R.
Sanes in Developmental Dynamics 195 229-275 (1993).
Taxonomy Id: 9031
Preferred common name: chicken
Genetic code: Translation table 1 (Standard) Mitochondrial genetic code: Translation table 2
Other names: dwarf Leghorn chickens[includes], red junglefowl[includes], chickens[common name], Gallus domesticus[misnomer], Gallus gallus domesticus[misnomer]
Lineage( abbreviated ): Eukaryota; Metazoa; Chordata; Craniata; Vertebrata; Archosauria; Aves; Neognathae; Galliformes; Phasianidae; Phasianinae; Gallus
Vertebrate and Invertebrate Embryos (7th Edition) G.C. Schoenwolf, Prentice Hall, New Jersey
An Atlas of Embryology (1975) W.H. Freeman and B. Bracegirdle, Heinemann Educational Books, UK.
This is an ATLAS (no description of development) , basically reprinted from the original 1963 edition.
Photos with labelled diagrams covering Amphioxus (worm) Frog, Chicken.
An Atlas for Staging Mammalian and Chick Embryos (1987) H. Bultler and B.H. Juurlink, CRC Press Inc., Florida
This ATLAS is not a complete series of development but has interesting comparisons of species.
Mostly photos of embryos with a few drawn diagrams and a series of staging correlation graphs.
Birds and Dinosaurs? as quoted in a recent Curent Biology review "...abundant and ever increasing evidence places birds as one surviving lineage of the diverse clade Dinosauria"
Clarke J, Middleton K. Bird evolution. Curr Biol. 2006 May 23;16(10):R350-4.
Lindow BE, Dyke GJ. Bird evolution in the Eocene: climate change in Europe and a Danish fossil fauna. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2006 Aug 8;:1-17
In chicken development sex determination depends on a ZZ male/ZW female mechanism.
This differs from mammalian sex determination which is based upon testis expression of an Sry gene in somatic supporting Sertoli cells.
In the gonad, the coelomic epithelium contributes only to non-steroidogenic interstitial cells and nephrogenous mesenchyme contributes both Sertoli cells and steroidogenic cells.
The first draft of the chicken genome was publicly released in March, 2004. There are a number of sites that have begun looking into establishing chicken genomics partly due to its powerful history as a model of vertebrate development that is easy to observe, manipulate and is also cheap. (see also NIH Proposal for Chicken Genomics | NCBI Chicken Genome Resources)
A summary of chicken genome resources has recently been identified in a review in Developmental Dynamics by Antin PB and Konieczka JH. Genomic resources for chicken. Dev Dyn. 2005 Apr;232(4):877-82. PMID: 15739221.
Chicken genomic websites:
Developmental Biology - Quail-Chick Chimeras
Nicole Le Douarin pioneered the use of quail-chick chimeras to study the developmental fate of cells in the bird embryo. The videotape Nicole Le Douarin gave us permission to digitize is titled, "Quail-Chick Chimeras in Development of the Nervous System and Immune System" and it was made in 1987. These digital video sequences and still images come from the first part of her videotape.
These chimeras were a key to our understanding cell migration (eg neural crest) in the embryo. The movie links below require an internet connection.
Quicktime movie sequence 1 (477k) showing newly hatched quail-chick chimeras; white feathers are chick and dark, pigmented feathers are quail.
Quicktime movie sequence 2 (1.3 MB) Sequence showing the preparation of the chick host; removing a portion of host's neural tube and neural crest.
Quicktime movie sequence 3 (1.4 MB) Sequence showing the removal and "cleaning off" of donor quail neural tube and neural crest.
Quicktime movie sequence 4 (1.5 MB) Sequence showing transplantation and grafting of donor quail neural tube and neural crest into the chick host; at the end of this sequence, you see the host chick embryo 5 hours later with its healed in graft.
Developmental Biology- Laurie Iten's Serially Sectioned Frog and Chick Embryos
Search NLM Bookshelf: Congenital+Heart+Defect