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‘Shocking’ developments in chick embryology: electroporation and in ovo gene expression


Efficient gene transfer by electroporation of chick embryos in ovo has allowed the development of new approaches to the analysis of gene regulation, function and expression, creating an exciting opportunity to build upon the classical manipulative advantages of the chick embryonic system. This method is applicable to other vertebrate embryos and is an important tool with which to address cell and developmental biology questions. Here we describe the technical aspects of in ovo electroporation, its different applications and future perspectives.

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Figure 1: Electroporation-mediated gene expression in cultured chick and mouse embryos.
Figure 2: Electroporation into different chick tissues.
Figure 3: Spatially restricted expression in chick embryos, using region-specific enhancers from different species.
Figure 4: Application of electroporation to analysis of gene regulation.


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We thank M. Manzanares for constructing the Hoxa3 vectors and help in testing their activity; A. Morrison, S. Nonchev, H. Popperl, M. Studer and H. Marshall for the region-specific enhancer constructs; and K. Kusumi, T. Jinks and M. Martínez-Pastor for discussions and testing approaches for electroporation. N.I. thanks H. Nakamura, J.-i. Funahashi and N. Osumi for technical suggestions; and Y. Imada and Y. Hayakawa for technical support. S.B.-V. was supported by fellowships from the French Cancer Research Association (ASC) and EMBO; N.I. was supported by an HFSP fellowship and the MRC; R.K.’s research was funded by the MRC.

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Correspondence to Robb Krumlauf.

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Itasaki, N., Bel-Vialar, S. & Krumlauf, R. ‘Shocking’ developments in chick embryology: electroporation and in ovo gene expression . Nat Cell Biol 1, E203–E207 (1999).

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