The Roslin Institute
Our interests lie in the formation of the avian germ cell lineage during embryogenesis. We seek to understand how germ cell lineage is first established, migrates and interacts with its niche in the forming gonad. A unique characteristic of germ cells is the ability to de-differentiate into pluripotent cells under certain culture conditions. We are attempting to understand the mechanisms controlling this process and derive avian cell lines which will be of use for the study of gene function and virology. This research will provide general insights into the establishment and maintenance of stem cell populations during development.
We have developed a distinct culture system for chicken primordial germ cells which allows these cells to be expanded indefinitely in vitro. This unique culture system has permitted us to establish primordial germ cell lines from many breeds of chicken for in vitro and in vivo analysis. These lines are being used to define the factors important for germ cell self-renewal, for genome editing, and for the cryopreservation (bio-banking) of avian species.