Dr Mike McGrew

The Roslin Institute

Research Interests

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. 

Selected Publications

  • J. Macdonald, L. Taylor, A. Sherman, K. Kawakami, Y. Takahashi, H. M. Sang, M. J. McGrew. 2012. Efficient genetic modification and germ-line transmission of primordial germ cells using piggyBac and Tol2 transposons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol: 109 Pages: E1466-E1472. More»
  • Mike McGrew, Adrian Sherman, Simon G. Lillico, Lorna Taylor, Helen Sang. 2010. Functional conservation between rodents and chicken of regulatory sequences driving skeletal muscle gene expression in transgenic chickens. BMC Developmental Biology Vol: 10 Pages: -. More»
  • Mike McGrew, Adrian Sherman, Simon Lillico, F. M. Ellard, P. A. Radcliffe, Hazel Gilhooley, K. A. Mitrophanous, N. Cambray, V. Wilson, H. Sang. 2008. Localised axial progenitor cell populations in the avian tail bud are not committed to a posterior Hox identity. Development Vol: 135 Pages: 2289-2299. More»
  • Joni Macdonald, James Glover, Lorna Taylor, Helen M. Sang, Mike McGrew. 2010. Characterisation and germline transmission of cultured avian primordial germ cells. PLoS ONE Vol: 5. More»