Research to develop a useful method for genetic modification of the chick has been on-going since the first demonstrations in the mouse in the 1980s that genetic modification is an invaluable tool for the study of gene function. Manipulation of the chick zygote is possible but inefficient. Considerable progress has been made in developing potentially pluripotent embryo stem cells and their contribution to somatic chimeric birds well-established. Germ line transmission of gametes derived from genetically modified embryo cells has not been described. Transfer of primordial germ cells from a donor embryo to a recipient and production of functional gametes from the donor-derived cells is possible. Genetic modification of primordial germ cells before transfer and their recovery through the germ line has not been achieved. The first transgenic birds described were generated using retroviral vectors. The use of lentiviral vectors may make this approach a feasible method for transgenic production, although there are limitations to the applications of these vectors. It is likely that a method will be developed in the next few years that will enable the use of transgenesis as a tool in the study of development in the chick and for many other applications in basic research and biotechnology.