Targeted mutagenesis in chicken using CRISPR/Cas9 system

Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 6;6:23980. doi: 10.1038/srep23980.


The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a simple and powerful tool for genome editing in various organisms including livestock animals. However, the system has not been applied to poultry because of the difficulty in accessing their zygotes. Here we report the implementation of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene targeting in chickens. Two egg white genes, ovalbumin and ovomucoid, were efficiently (>90%) mutagenized in cultured chicken primordial germ cells (PGCs) by transfection of circular plasmids encoding Cas9, a single guide RNA, and a gene encoding drug resistance, followed by transient antibiotic selection. We transplanted CRISPR-induced mutant-ovomucoid PGCs into recipient chicken embryos and established three germline chimeric roosters (G0). All of the roosters had donor-derived mutant-ovomucoid spermatozoa, and the two with a high transmission rate of donor-derived gametes produced heterozygous mutant ovomucoid chickens as about half of their donor-derived offspring in the next generation (G1). Furthermore, we generated ovomucoid homozygous mutant offspring (G2) by crossing the G1 mutant chickens. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is a simple and effective gene-targeting method in chickens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins / genetics*
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Targeting / methods
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mutagenesis
  • Mutation
  • Ovalbumin / genetics*
  • Ovomucin / genetics*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Avian Proteins
  • Ovomucin
  • Ovalbumin