Manipulation of Developmental Function in Turtles with Notes on Alligators

Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1920:247-263. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9009-2_14.


Reptiles have great taxonomic diversity that is reflected in their morphology, ecology, physiology, modes of reproduction, and development. Interest in comparative and evolutionary developmental biology makes protocols for the study of reptile embryos invaluable resources. The relatively large size, seasonal breeding, and long gestation times of turtles epitomize the challenges faced by the developmental biologist. We describe protocols for the preparation of turtle embryos for ex ovo culture, electroporation, in situ hybridization, and microcomputed tomography. Because these protocols have been adapted and optimized from methods used for frog, chick, and mouse embryos, it is likely that they could be used for other reptilian species. Notes are included for alligator embryos where appropriate.

Keywords: Alligator; Electroporation; Embryology; Ex ovo culture; In situ hybridization; Microcomputed tomography; Turtle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alligators and Crocodiles / embryology*
  • Alligators and Crocodiles / genetics
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Electroporation
  • Embryo Culture Techniques
  • Embryonic Development* / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Turtles / embryology*
  • Turtles / genetics
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Biomarkers