For the past 50 years, the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) has been a popular animal model in numerous fields of research. The quail's 16-d developmental period and its easily accessible embryo make C. japonica a convenient model for studies of developmental biology. Because its lifespan is relatively short and its physiology is comparable to that of humans, the adult quail is useful for studies of aging and disease. The authors describe the Japanese quail as an animal model and, drawing on their experience raising a quail colony at the California Institute of Technology, present detailed guidelines for the husbandry of the species.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
We are sorry, but there is no personal subscription option available for your country.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Woodard, A.E., Abplanalp, H., Wilson, W.O. & Vohra, P. Japanese Quail Husbandry in the Laboratory (University of California, Davis, 1973). <http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/Avian/Coturnix.pdf>
Mills, A.D., Crawford, L.L., Domjan, M. & Faure, J.M. The behavior of the Japanese or domestic quail Coturnix japonica. Neurosci. Behav. Rev. 21, 261–281 (1997).
Padgett C.S. & Ivey, W.D. Coturnix quail as a laboratory research animal. Science 129, 267–268 (1959).
Padgett, C.S. & Ivey, W.D. The normal embryology of the Coturnix quail. Anat. Rec. 137, 1–11 (1960).
Hamburger, V. & Hamilton, H. A series of normal stages in the development of the chick embryo. J. Morph. 88, 49–92 (1951).
Zacchei, A.M. [The embryonal development of the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica T. and S.); article in Italian] Arch. Ital. Anat. Embriol. 66, 36–62 (1961).
Fitzgerald, T.C. The Coturnix Quail: Anatomy and Histology (Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA, 1969).
Ratnamohan, N. The management of Japanese quail and their use in virological research: a review. Vet. Res. Comm. 9, 1–14 (1985).
Le Douarin, N. & Kalcheim, C. The Neural Crest (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999).
Kulsea, P.M. & Fraser, S.E. Neural crest cell dynamics revealed by time-lapse video microscopy of whole embryo chick explant cultures. Dev. Biol. 204, 327–344 (1998).
Lalloue, F.L. & Ayer- Le Lievre, C.S. Experimental study of early olfactory neuron differentiation and nerve formation using quail-chick chimeras. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49, 193–200 (2005).
Scott, B.B. & Lois, C. Generation of tissue-specific transgenic birds with lentiviral vectors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 16443–16447 (2005).
Poynter, G. & Lansford, R. in Avian Embryology (Methods of Cell Biology) 2nd edn., vol. 87 (Bronner-Fraser, M., ed.) 282–292 (Academic, San Diego, 2008).
Mizutani, M. Establishment of inbred strains of chicken and Japanese quail and their potential as animal models. Exp. Anim. 51, 417–429 (2002).
Smith, S.M. in Alcohol: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology) (Nagy, L.E., ed.) 75–84 (Humana, Totawa, NJ, 2008).
Barrett, J.E., Wells, D.C., Paulsen, A.Q. & Conrad, G.W. Embryonic quail eye development in microgravity. J. Appl. Physiol. 88, 1614–1622 (2000).
Kovach, J.K. The behaviour of Japanese quail; review of the literature from a bioethological perspective. Appl. Anim. Ethol. 1, 77–102 (1974),
Ottinger, M.A. et al. The Japanese quail: a model for studying reproductive aging of hypothalamic systems. Exp. Gerontol. 39, 1679–1693 (2004).
Holmes, D.J. & Ottinger, M.A. Birds as long-lived animal models for the study of aging. Exp. Gerontol. 38, 1365–1375 (2003).
Follett, B.K., Kumar, V. & Juss, T.S. Circadian nature of the photoperiodic clock in Japanese quail. J. Comp. Physiol. 171, 533–540 (1992).
Wada, M. Low temperature and short days together induce thyroid activation and suppression of LH release in Japanese quail. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 90, 355–363 (1993).
Watson, J.T., Abdelnabi, M., Wersinger, S., Ottinger, M.A. & Adkins-Regen, E. Circulating estradiol and the activation of male and female copulatory behavior in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 77, 229–238 (1990).
Ottinger, M.A. et al. Consequences of endocrine disrupting chemicals on reproductive endocrine function in birds: establishing reliable end points of exposure. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. 29, 411–419 (2005).
Cheng, K.M. & Kimura, M. in Poultry Breeding and Genetics (Crawford, R.D., ed.) 333–362 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1990).
Minvielle, F., Grossman, R. & Gourichon, D. Development and performances of a Japanese quail line homozygous for the diabetes insipidus (di) mutation. Poult. Sci. 86, 249–254 (2007).
Kikuchi, T. et al. Clinical and metabolic correction of pompe disease by enzyme therapy in acid maltase deficient quail. J. Clin. Invest. 101, 827–833 (1998).
Yuan, Y.V., Kitts, D.D. & Godin, D.V. Influence of dietary cholesterol and fat source on atherosclerosis in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Br. J. Nutr. 78, 993–1014 (1997).
St. Clair, R.W. The contribution of avian models to our understanding of atherosclerosis and their promise for the future. Lab. Anim. Sci. 48, 565–568 (1998).
Siegel, H.S., Hammad, S.M. & Marks, H.L. Atherosclerosis in Japanese quail males selected for high or low plasma cholesterol. Poult. Sci. 74, 1712–1716 (1995).
Nestor, K.E., Bacon, W.L., Anthony, N.B. & Noble, D.O. Divergent selection for body weight and yolk precursor in Coturnix coturnix japonica. 11. Correlated responses over 30 generations. Poult. Sci. 75, 472–477 (1996).
Aggrey, S.E., Ankra-Badu, G.A. & Marks, H.L. Effect of long-term divergent selection on growth characteristics in Japanese quail. Poult. Sci. 82, 538–542 (2003).
Bennett, R.A. in Avian Medicine: Principles and Application, abridged (Ritchie, B.W., Harrison, G.J. & Harrison, L.R., eds.) 600–610 (Wingers, Lake Worth, FL, 1997).
Howes, J.R. Coturnix quail for veterinary research. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 140, 162–163 (1962).
Makarova, N.V., Ozaki, H., Kida, H., Webster, R.G. & Perez, D.R. Replication and transmission of influenza viruses in Japanese quail. Virology 310, 8–15 (2003).
Singh, A., Oberoi, M.S. & Singh, B. Pathogenicity of quail's inclusion body hepatitis virus (avian adenovirus-1) for Japanese quails and broiler chicks. Vet. Res. Commun. 19, 545–551 (1995).
Barnes, H.J. Diseases of quail. Vet. Clin. North. Am. Small. Anim. Pract. 17, 1109–1144 (1987).
Sasazaki, S., Hinenoya, T., Lin, B., Fujiwara, A. & Mannen, H. A comparative map of macrochromosomes between chicken and Japanese quail based on orthologous genes. Anim. Genet. 37, 316–320 (2006).
Kayang, B.B. et al. Integrated maps in quail (Coturnix japonica) confirm the high degree of synteny conservation with chicken (Gallus gallus) despite 35 million years of divergence. BMC Genomics 7, 101–118 (2006).
Minvielle, F. The future of Japanese quail for research and production. Worlds Poult. Sci. J. 60, 500–507 (2004).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Huss, D., Poynter, G. & Lansford, R. Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) as a laboratory animal model. Lab Anim 37, 513–519 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/laban1108-513
Embryonic thermal manipulation impacts the postnatal transcriptome response of heat-challenged Japanese quails
BMC Genomics (2021)
Scientific Reports (2021)
Scientific Reports (2021)
Embryonic thermal manipulation of Japanese quail: effects on embryonic development, hatchability, and post-hatch performance
Tropical Animal Health and Production (2021)
Immediate and transgenerational effects of thymol supplementation, inactivated Salmonella and chronic heat stress on representative immune variables of Japanese quail
Scientific Reports (2020)