In vitro culture and characterization of duck primordial germ cells

Poult Sci. 2019 Apr 1;98(4):1820-1832. doi: 10.3382/ps/pey515.


This study aimed to isolate, culture, and characterize duck primordial germ cells (PGCs) and to compare these cells with chicken PGCs. We first cultured Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) circulating PGCs and gonadal PGCs (gPGCs) in the modified serum-containing medium used to amplify chicken PGCs. gPGCs were found to proliferate better in serum-free chemically defined medium than in serum-containing medium. Thereafter, gPGCs were similarly isolated from 2 other duck breeds, the Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and the hybrid mule duck (C. moschata × A. platyrhynchos), and amplified for a limited period of time in the chemically defined culture condition, but sufficiently to be characterized and transplanted. Cultured gPGCs of all 3 duck breeds were characterized by Periodic acid-Schiff staining, immunocytochemical staining, and expression analysis of germline-specific and pluripotency genes. Cultured duck gPGCs colonized the gonads after being genetically labeled and injected into recipient embryos. Taken together, these results demonstrate that duck PGCs retain their germline characteristics after being isolated, expanded in vitro, and genetically modified. Further studies are required to establish the optimal conditions for long-term culture of duck PGCs, which may involve supplementing the culture medium with other growth factors or compounds.

Keywords: Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata); Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos); mule duck (C. moschata × A. platyrhynchos); primordial germ cell (PGC).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Ducks*
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Gonads / cytology