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Feathers and post-hatch eggshells: sources of fibroblast cells for conserving genetic diversity

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Abstract:

Scientific literature addresses the use of feathers in sex determination, as a source of DNA, and for providing eco-toxicological information; however, there is much less research on the use of feathers as a non-invasive, or minimally invasive, means to conserve avian genetic diversity. This study investigated the use of semi-mature to mature feathers and post-hatch eggshells, as well as embryos, as sources of fibroblast-like cells for cytological analysis and somatic cell gene banking. Contour and flight feathers were plucked from living Rhode Island red and white leghorn varieties of the domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus), India blue peafowl (white mutation) (Pavo cristatus), domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), domestic duck (Anas platyrhyncha), emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), and ostrich (Struthio camelus). Fibroblast cell growth was observed in the feather pulp and post-hatch eggshell samples after 24–48 hours. Erythrocytes, macrophages, and epithelial cells were also observed, based on morphology. Semi-mature to mature feathers containing feather pulp and post-hatch eggshells can be adequate sources of fibroblast cells for somatic cell acquisition and cell culture, possibly providing a source of cells for use in chimera formation or cloning of threatened and endangered birds. Further research should focus on applying this technique to other avian species and address cryopreservation and viability of cells derived in this manner.

Keywords: CHICKEN (GALLUS DOMESTICUS); CHIMERA; CLONING; CONSERVATION; DUCK (ANAS PLATYRHYNCHA); EMU (DROMAIUS NOVAEHOLLANDIAE); FEATHERS; FIBROBLAST CELLS; OSTRICH (STRUTHIO CAMELUS); PEAFOWL (PAVO CRISTATUS); TURKEY (MELEAGRIS GALLOPAVO)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3184/175815512X13442766780124

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Avian Biology Research provides a forum for the publication of research in every field of ornithology. It covers all aspects of pure and applied ornithology for wild or captive species as well as research that does not readily fit within the publication objectives of other ornithological journals. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology. The journal also includes sections on avian news, conference diary and book reviews.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Tom Pike; Dale Sandercock; Claudia Wascher

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